Indian Mujahideen Yasin Bhatkal’s Bong Connection
Finally one of India’s most wanted fugitives Yasin Bhatkal is arrested. In the recent past almost every blast in India linked to Yasin Bhatkal. Bhatkal managed to escape, every time he was expected to be caught. Therefore finally his arrest from the Indo-Nepal border is counted as the biggest success for India.
Bengal has always been considered as the transit route for terror outfits because of its common porous border with Bangladesh. It is known to be the safe passage through which the members of terrorist outfits enter this country to create disturbances and also escape from the border. Intelligence agencies sources are of the opinion that recently they also used the Indo-Nepal border, as transit route, which is evident from the recent arrest of Abdul Karim Tunda and Yasin Bhatkal. But Bengal is still very much connected and safe ground to the terrorist outfits.
Yasin Bhatkal and Indian Mujahideen both have Bengal connection, the biggest ever escape of Yasin Bhatkal was recorded in Kolkata and the organisation “Indian Mujahideen” he founded along with Bhatkal brothers and Amir Reza Khan has its linkage with Bengal too.
If we look back into the recent history, we find that Zarar Ahmad Siddibappa alias Yasin Bhatkal was arrested by the Kolkata Police in December 2009 but he passed himself off as a small time “fake currency” supplier by giving his name as Bulla Mullick alias Sonu to the police. For the next few weeks, he remained in a Kolkata jail. Kolkata police had no clue about his real identity, and therefore he was released. According to highly placed sources, Yasin’s photo was also not available with the local police at that time.
He remained in jail till the beginning of February 2010 and within a few days of release, on February 13, 2010, he orchestrated the Pune German Bakery blast.
Later on, the Kolkata Police STF arrested an Indian Mujahideen operative Anwar Hussain Mallik, a resident of Ranibandh area in Chapra subdivision of Nadia district. To the surprise of the Kolkata Police, it was then revealed during interrogation that Anwar had met Bhatkal in Kolkata in September 2009 and Anwar had handed over a packet containing “seven-eight kilos of powdery explosives” to Bhatkal which is suspected to have been used in Pune’s German Bakery blast in 2010.
Now, the STF officials remained tight-lipped about the arrest of India’s most-dreaded terrorist, but sources, however, say the city police might send its prayer to the central investigating agencies to interrogate Bhatkal in connection with terror link of Anwar Hussain Mallik. “I shall not speak to the media as I am little busy today,” said Kolkata Police STF’s Additional Commissioner Somen Mitra, when contacted over phone.
According to sources, a city police team is likely to approach the central agencies to interrogate the terror mastermind Yasin Bhatkal and also to know about Amir Reza Khan, a former resident of Kolkata, who is also one of the founders and senior leaders of Indian Mujahideen. The police would also try to find out information from him about the fake currency racket operated in various parts of West Bengal and the chain of explosive substance procurement from there. The city police have already sent Bhatkal’s fingerprints took had during his arrest in 2009, sources said.
It is not only Yasin Bhatkal but the very foundation of Indian Mujahideen is believed to have been laid in Bengal.
Indian Mujahideen and Bengal
It is believe that Indian Mujahideen may not be a separate outfit but a new name for the Asif Reza Commando Force (ARCF) that was named after Kolkata-based fugitive Asif Reza Khan. This organisation carried out some sensational operations which include the abduction of shoe baron (Khadims) Partha Pratim Roy Burman in 2001 and attack on the American Center in Kolkata on January 22, 2002.
According to sources, the ARCF originally was a marginal group and operated in an area populated by illegal migrants from Bangladesh near Habibpur, along the Indo-Bangladesh border, in the Malda district of West Bengal. It is also believed that the ARCF raised some of its funds initially through kidnappings in Varanasi, Surat and Kolkata including the famous one of businessman Partha Pratim Roy Barman. He was released after reportedly paying a ransom amount of Rs 3.75 crore in Dubai through the hawala network.
But Asif Reza Khan was killed by the Gujarat Police in an encounter in December 2001 after his arrest in Delhi. To avenge the death of his brother Asif Reza Khan, Amir Reza Khan took over as the leader of Asif Reza Commando Force and to strengthen the organisation he carried out attack on the American Centre in Kolkata on January 22, 2002 along with Aftab Ansari, a close associate of Asif Reza Khan, killing 7 police personal and left 17 others injured. Although Aftab Ansari was arrested, a day after the American Center attack in Kolkata by the UAE authorities and deported to India on February 9, 2002. Amir Reza Khan managed to flee, accordingly the outfit Asif Reza Commando Force vanished, which later took the shape as Indian Mujahideen.
Amir Reza Khan is believed to be the main brain behind formation of Indian Mujahideen in 2005 along with Bhatkal brothers and Yasin Bhatkal. It was also accepted by the Delhi Police, when Joint Commissioner (Special Cell), Delhi Police, Karnail Singh said about Amir Reza Khan: “Amir formed the Indian Mujahideen sometime in 2005. He had approached the Jaish and Harkat-ul-Jehadi-e-Islami (HuJI) earlier for support. The Lashkar helped him and SIMI and HuJI were asked to give him logistical and operational help.”
Officials also add that Amir in turn contacted Riyaz Bhatkal, Atif Ameen and Mohammad Sadiq, believed to be the main accused behind the recent terror attacks in the country and they reportedly all received training in Pakistan.
Amir Reza Khan, is said to be now based in Karachi, under the protection of ISI. Uday India tried to contact Amir Reza Khan’s family in Kolkata‘s Beniapukur, where his mother stays with Amir’s younger brother Imran. When asked whether Amir is in touch with her or not, his mother replied “Saal main ek ya do baar phone karta hain, jab uska phone aata hain to baicheni bar jaati hain, Maa hu na” (He calls once or twice a year, but I become tense when I receive his call, after all I am his mother ).
Indian Mujahideen, which is known for its smart activities and members who are technology savvy youths, has three modules of working—North India module, South India module and a fidayeen module. The recent arrests by the Delhi and Mumbai Police are believed to have busted the North India module. The module was believed to have 14 members who were part of the operations directly, apart from others who are at large. The second module is based in South India. While its members haven’t been traced, interrogations reportedly indicate that it has more than 15 members. The third module is said to comprise around 10 fidayeen attackers, present in important cities.
By this arrests if India has shown that it is not soft on terrorism, then it is not the right time to rejoice the arrest of Yasin Bhatkal but with proper coordination and planned operations nab those notorious who are still
By Joydeep Dasgupta from Kolkata