IB: Despite Bhatkal arrest, IM threat alive

NEW DELHI: The terror threat to India from theIndian Mujahideen (IM) is undiminished, despite the arrest of its top leader Yasin Bhatkal as the outfit has enlarged its capacities while its mentors are safely ensconced in Pakistan, Intelligence Bureau (IB) chief Asif Ibrahim has said.

Ibrahim on Thursday told a conference of senior police officials that though a sizeable component of IM is home-grown, the group along with Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), is a major source of concern even after the arrest of Bhatkal and his aide Asadullah Akhtar, alias “Haddi”.

Referring to the Muzaffarnagar riots, Ibrahim seemed to endorse the view that the UP government was slack in its response, saying, “Experience has shown that the initial incidents could have been contained by prompt action by the local police.” He also spoke of erosion in Maoist capacities in terms of reduced levels in violence.

Ibrahim also warned of new security challenges in the wake of the Telangana decision in the light of threatened counter-agitations.

Pointing to the Patna serial blasts, the IB chief said IM is a significant threat as “…(It) has enlarged its capabilities and shown that it can carry out acts of terror at short notice”.

The top sleuth stressed all leads emerging from investigations into cases involving IM would need to be rigorously pursued to neutralize the entire network.

Ibrahim also raised concern over IM’s efforts to connect with terror outfits from other parts of the world. Though he did not elaborate, the reference was to IM espousing the cause of Rohingya Muslims by attacking Lord Buddha’s shrine at Bodh Gaya in July to avenge the alleged “atrocities” on co-religionists in neighbouring Myanmar.

Referring to the continuing terror threat from Pakistan, Ibrahim said the evidence gathered shows Islamabad continues to sponsor terror groups active in India.

He said the terror infrastructure across the border was intact and Pakistani elements are pushing large number of terrorists into Jammu & Kashmir to fuel the projection that the state is a disturbed area. However, he added that border forces are vigilant and had foiled numerous infiltration attempts over the year.

Ibrahim said incidence of Left-wing extremism is on the decline, with Maharashtra and Odisha showing significant fall in violence levels. He pointed to reversals for the CPI (Maoist) and erosion in leadership.

He said the security forces were trying to penetrate hitherto inaccessible areas, facilitating access to development activities. At the same time, he quoted documents and reports of the outfit’s central committee to warn of attempts to step up extremist activities.

Reviewing the communal situation, Ibrahim said the recent riots in Muzaffarnagar had exposed the increasing misuse of social media to create tension between communities. “The circulation of provocative videos turned out to be one of the main factors behind communal violence,” he said while also expressing concern at riots breaking out from hitherto peaceful rural areas.

Source: Times Of India