Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Terror Within Terror

Updated: October 29, 2011 11:08 am

This novel is a completely dedicated work of a scribe with a too sensitive nose for investigative journalism who has toiled through tough times gathering secret information using exclusive contracts and rich and reliable sources. Shishir Gupta with finesse managed to pan his camera over every move they made. He wrote the inside story out, about the work culture of IM (Indian Mujahideen), their operation, nexus, connivance and MO (modus operandi). The minutest details about fresh recruitment, funding and network for procurement of explosives were dearly drafted. The novel reveals certain startling facts that can take one by surprise like the chinks and lacunae in the police machinery through where they made a friendly entry to commit the planned module, including the intelligence failure described as one of them.

SIMI was founded on April 25, 1977, in Aligarh by its first president Mohammed Ahmadullah Siddiqui, who later on migrated to the United States and became a professor of English and journalism at Western Illinois University. IM has come from Students Islamic Movement of India—SIMI—and in the south it was the Islamic Sevak Sangh. However, India’s homegrown terrorism is backed by the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence.

Shishir Gupta delving too deeply into the numerous avenues and formats handling IM modules, their smooth and effective interactions with parallel Lashkar (LeT) and with Pakistan and how LeT managed the recruitment of Indian youth through different channels such as family, friends and personal connections and how the organisation brainwashed them and enticed the recruits into working for it and in return they would get bundles of money from the Gulf countries. The novel describes, as something after a long pitch-battle and probes into the folds of the outfit to elicit information that throws light on some hard facts about home-grown terror. The writer not only focuses on the Islamic terrorism but also writes saffron colour in his blue ink and emphatically expounds as to how this bloodily massacred menace can be handled. Shishir peeled the layers one by one with his sharp acumen and flair for writing.

His inexhaustible leg work, unflagging stamina and sleepless nights extracted different pieces of information about the evolution and surfacing of the IM, a local terrorist outfit that never figured on the intelligence radar till yesterday. Gupta is clear about his narratives that he experienced at close range. He collected, plucked bits from different quarters and wove well in his words to fetch the real saga of home-grown terrorist outfit.

Working at the grassroots level on the beat he procured police reports and intelligence inputs to follow up and unearthed who’s who of the movement right from the origin and dissolution of SIMI that was followed by the German Bakery (Koregaon Park, Pune) strike and blasts on the Varanasi Ghats in December 2010. Gupta left no stone unturned to go the extra mile covering all the prominent points and major incidents of terrorist strikes that have ripped India into shreds. Shishir has surfaced some hard facts based on evidence, he delicately ploughed through the pulse of the terror back home. Scores of bytes, interviews and cross checks he has carried out to give a novelistic touch with all newness.

He recounts dangerous key elements like the Bhatkal brothers, Aftab Ansari, Shahnawaz Alam and Mohsin Choudhary and their way to remain evasive by frequently changing their identity and place. The novel unfolds routes through which the funds flowed in, sources and resources, planning and execution of terror stunts are too riveting and gripping that you will read the novel in one go.

By SYED Wazid Ali

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