Threat to Narendra Modi: Terror outfits getting desperate?

Are Islamic terror outfits planning to intensify their activities in India? There are indications that they are.

They perceive the BJP’s massive victory in the elections a stinging blow to their ideological position vis-à-vis that of the Sangh Parivar, and with Narendra Modi at the helm they anticipate difficult times ahead.

The sense of desperation was evident when operatives of the banned Student Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) issued an open threat to Modi at a Bhopal court a couple of days ago.

Modi surrounded by his security detail in Delhi: Reuters

Modi surrounded by his security detail in Delhi: Reuters

The operatives chanted slogans saying, “Ab ki baar Modi ka number”, and “Taliban Zindabad”, on the district court premises when they were produced for a hearing there on 16 May. Coincidently, the slogans were raised almost at the same time when Modi was being welcomed in Delhi after his historic win.

According to Bhopal police and eye-witnesses, 18 jailed SIMI operatives, including its Madhya Pradesh head and terror accused Abu Faisal, raised pro-Taliban and anti-Modi slogans after a hearing on terror-related cases and the Khandwa jailbreak. Taking everyone by surprise, Faisal and his associates in the presence of the media and public raised inflammatory slogans hailing the Taliban and issued a ‘threat’ to Modi -- “Now, it is Modi’s turn.”

“It reflects the panic among the accused, who have been allegedly involved in anti-national activities, especially with Modiji ascending to power at the Centre, who has made clear his zero-tolerance policy towards terrorism. Next time we have decided to have hearing within jail premises through video-conferencing,” Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Babulal Gaur told Firstpost.

“Madhya Pradesh has a history of SIMI activity, which is a banned organisation. The moment the group saw media in the court premises, it started shouting slogans to draw national attention. They have been booked for raising inflammatory slogans and we’re looking into the issue from the evidences gathered,” said Director General of Police, Madhya Pradesh, Nandan Dube.

But, will the problem of national security get solved by confining the SIMI operatives to prisons? Has the SIMI threat to India got bigger?

The writing on the wall was clear much before the Lok Sabha polls; even before votes were cast during the assembly polls in the five states in 2013. Ahead of the Vidhan Sabha election in Chhattisgarh, consecutive arrests of SIMI operatives allegedly linked to Indian Mujahideen (IM) in Raipur in 2013, exposed an alarming security condition in what is otherwise is known as a communally peaceful state, unlike MP which already has a base of SIMI operations.

Prior to Modi’s rally on 14 November 2013, a sleeper cell comprising SIMI members conducted a recee of the area, as the aim was to attack Modi during the rally.

According to the Chhattisgarh police, the key SIMI member Umer Siddiqui, who was arrested and used to run a coaching centre in Raipur city, was in touch with IM operatives — Haidar Ali alias Abdullah, Numan Ansari, Taufeeq Ansari and Mojibullah who were allegedly involved in the Bodh Gaya and Patna blasts on 7 July and 27 October 2013 respectively.

“After failing in Patna, the objective of IM was to target Narendra Modi in Raipur during the campaigning for assembly polls as he was considered ‘anti-Islam’ by them, but they failed to execute the plan as Chhattisgarh police raided and arrested members of sleeper cells,” a central intelligence source said on condition of anonymity.

“We keep getting alerts on such kind of activities from various states and the one happened in Bhopal may be considered as a warning,” the source said.

“These sleeper cells of SIMI-IM combine supported by Pakistan are dangerous and they have silently been operating since long across the country. The Bhopal incident is a kind of warning, as the SIMI operatives wanted to make their presence felt,” said Anil Kamboj, ex-senior fellow, Institute for Defence Studies & Analysis, and an internal security expert.

The experts feel that it is an ideological battle between the BJP and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) on one hand and the radical Islamic outfits like SIMI on the other. “The objective of these outfits would be to destabilise the government functioning by creating disturbances. The regrouping of SIMI operatives with other extremist forces can’t be ruled out,” the intelligence source said.

The SIMI operatives, who raised inflammatory slogans in Bhopal, had earlier broken out of Khandwa jail in October 2013 and escaped, only to be re-arrested two months later.

In April this year, the Delhi Police special cell took Faisal in custody for interrogation on his suspected links with Zia-ur-Rehman alias Waqas, a Pakistani national and IM member, who was arrested from Ajmer. Later, the National Investigation Agency took him on a transit remand for interrogation in connection with different terror attacks including the alleged blasts in Hyderabad and Varanasi.

Faisal alias ‘Doctor’, a resident of Azamgarh district in Uttar Pradesh, studied Homoeopathy in Indore and after the arrest of Safdar Nagori took charge of SIMI’s MP module. Currently lodged in Bhopal Central Jail, he had earlier planned to target the judges, who had given verdict in the Babri Masjid case and had also fired at policemen. According to the police, he had been a key operative in SIMI operations in MP.

Considering the Bhopal incident as an alarming case in point, the former director, Central Bureau of Investigation, Joginder Singh strongly feels that there should be a stringent law to tackle the growing terrorism in India. “In the present context, these terror modules are going for re-grouping to unleash terror in near future. Modi as PM should go whole-heartedly in bringing a strong law against terrorism and sedition charges, or else the nation would suffer as during the UPA regime due to vote bank politics,” Joginder Singh added.


Updated Date: May 19, 2014 12:21 PM

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