January 06, 2006

Nalgonda dist in Andhra , a hub of ISI and Terrorist activity?

K. Srinivas Reddy

Police suspect that the youth received training in Pakistan, Bangladesh Youth came into contact with hardened terrorists while serving time in prison for various crimes. This helped organisations build their terror network.


The town's tryst with fundamentalism not a new phenomenon
With the police focussing on tackling naxalites unhindered
Functioning of State police under spotlight

HYDERABAD: The recent arrest of a suspected Laskhar-e-Taiba (LeT) operative, Razi-Ur-Rehman alias Abdul Rehman, from Nalgonda in connection with the terror strike at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, has jolted law enforcement agencies in Andhra Pradesh.

The secret operation by the Karnataka police has once again proved that all may not be well at Nalgonda, a small district headquarters town.

Though the claim of the Karnataka police that Rehman is the LeT's south India in-charge is yet to be substantiated, the arrest brings into focus the discomfiting idea that Nalgonda — about 100 km from Hyderabad — continues to be a centre for subversive activities by fundamentalist organisations, which are backed by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence.

Terrorist camps

The police suspect that at least two dozen youngsters hailing from the town have gone underground. Intelligence agencies suspect that they were trained in terrorist camps in Bangladesh and Pakistan. Most of them could have returned to India as `sleepers' of the terror outfits, ready to act when their `operators' give them the green signal. It is possible some of them were involved, directly or indirectly, in the December 28, 2005 attack on the IISc.

Nalgonda's tryst with fundamentalism is not a new phenomenon. It is an offshoot of the ISI's K2 plan to "liberate" Khalistan and Kashmir in the late 1980s. As part of the plan, the ISI recruited Salauddin, who is now believed to be in Pakistan.

He floated a students' organisation, which was to groom youngsters into "people ready to fight and foment trouble," sources said.

Nalgonda's proximity to Hyderabad has helped to make the town a haven for fundamentalists. The communal violence in 1990 in Hyderabad that claimed 258 lives and the shilanyas programme taken up in the country turned Nalgonda into a beehive of activity.

Grooming youth

Salauddin groomed a group of second-rung leaders, Asgar Ali, Shamshuddin, Fasiuddin, Abdul Aziz and Mohammed Rafeeq. These youths were arrested for various criminal activities and they became full-fledged operatives of militant groups while serving sentences in the district jail in Mushirabad.

Other terrorists such as Mujeeb, Jalees Ansari and Bilal Ahmed Kullu were already in the jail when these youngsters served their term.

Mujeeb, a Hizb activist, was recently re-arrested in Hyderabad after he completed a term for killing Additional Superintendent of Police Krishna Prasad.

Daily interaction with the terrorists hardened the arrested youngsters and most of them went underground after they were released on bail.

It was the jail connections that helped Asgar Ali (now imprisoned in Gujarat in the Haren Pandya killing case) go to Kashmir to fetch RDX and weapons for creating trouble in Hyderabad.

Focus on naxalism

As the police began focussing on tackling the naxalite problem, fundamentalism grew unhindered. The police did not make concerted efforts to keep track of religious fundamentalism-based militant activity, though they occasionally busted ISI modules.

Following the recent attack on the police task force office in Hyderabad, the State police have begun concentrating on terrorist activity and picked up two persons.

Mujeeb, who was released for good behaviour in 2004, was re-arrested. The police allege that he was planning subversive activities and trying to mobilise funds and weapons.

The arrests of Mujeeb in Hyderabad and Rehman in Nalgonda have brought the functioning of the State police into the spotlight.

Senior police officers concede that religious fundamentalism should receive as much attention as Left-wing extremism.

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