INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM MONITOR-- PAPER NO.444
( To be read in continuation of my earlier article of 26-8-08 titled "Indian Mujahideen Planning Suicide Attacks" at http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/papers29/paper2821.html )
The group calling itself the Indian Mujahideen (IM) has so far sent five E-mail messages to sections of the media since it made its appearance in November last year. The first message was sent a few minutes before the serial blasts in three towns of Uttar Pradesh in November last year. The second was sent after the blasts in Jaipur in May,2008. The third was sent before the blasts in Ahmedabad on July 26,2008. The fourth was sent after the press conference held by the Gujarat Police in August,2008, in which they claimed to have solved the case relating to the Ahmedabad and Jaipur blasts, identified the perpetrators and arrested many of them. According to the Gujarat police version, it was the Students' Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), which is now operating as the IM. The firfth message was sent before the blasts in New Delhi on September 13,2008.
2.The first, second, third and fifth messages claimed responsibility for the blasts and the fourth debunked the claims of the Gujarat Police of having solved the case and tried to convey the impression that the arrested persons had nothing to do with the blasts. Surprisingly, the IM has not sent any E-mail messages claiming responsibility for the serial blasts in Bangalore on July 25,2008.
3.Intriguingly, the IM describes its latest E-mail warning of the New Delhi blasts as "our third consecutive E-mail ". It says: "The INDIAN MUJAHIDEEN accepts the sole responsibilityof Delhi serial blasts, and we claim this, through our third consecutive email, which is, unfortunately, still a mystery for you. It is very sad to see the bad condition of your cyber forensics who have still failed to find out our technique of sending the “Message of Death”." Why does the IM talk of only three E-mail messages, when the media had received five E-mails, all purporting to be from the IM?
4. A careful study of all the E-mail messages purported to have been sent in the name of the IM indicates the following:
While the first two E-mail messages were virulent in their content, they were not obnoxiously abusive in their language. The last three messages were not only virulent in their content, but also obnoxious in their language. I had pointed out in my earlier paper cited above that in the message about the Ahmedabad blasts, they had used the word bastard which normally Al Qaeda and pro-Al Qaeda organisations are never known to use. The latest message on the New Delhi blasts are even more abusive than the previous two messages regarding the blasts in Ahmedabad.P.C.Pandey, the DG of Police of Gujarat, has been abused as a rascal, a bastard, a corrupt old hag, a base-born criminal and a filthy loyal dog of Narendra Modi. These are typical of the Mafia underworld of Mumbai and Gujarat.
The Gujarat Police and the Rajasthan Police and their Police chiefs have been severely condemned in the latest and a specific threat of terrorist attack has also been held out against A.K.Jain of the Rajasthan Police. But, significanly, there is no criticism of the Karnataka Police and its chief. There is not even a reference to the investigation by the Bangalore Police, whereas the investigations by the Ahmedabad and Jaipur police have been debunked and their claims of having solved the cases have been questioned. Similarly, there is no reference to the UP Police investigation of the blasts of November last.
The language used in the third and fourth messages about the Ahmedabad blasts and the fifth message about the New Delhi blasts, which are very abusive, differ from the language used in the first message about the UP blasts and the second about the Jaipur blasts.
5. Why such discrepancies? It is important to find answers to them before we come to definitive conclusions about the IM. Just as the proof of the pudding is in the eating, the proof of the terrorist is in the catching.Unless and until we are able to identify and neutralise or arrest the right persons, who are the brains behind the IM, we will have more surprises. We have arrested many perpetrators of individual blasts, but I am not sure we have arrested the brains. By thinking and prematurely projecting that we have identified and arrested the brains, we will make ourselves liable for more surprises, which could damage the credibility of the police in the eyes of the public.
6. In the latest message, the State Governments of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka have been criticised for their alleged harassment of the Muslims, but the main brunt of the criticism has been on Maharashtra and the Mumbai Police. Having attacked the national capital in New Delhi, they could next target the economic capital in Mumbai.
7. From these messages, it is apparent that the IM does not as yet have a strategic objective such as the establishment of an Islamic Caliphate or the "liberation" of the Muslims of India. Its objective till now is purely tactical to wreak vengeance on the Hindutva organisations and the various State Governments accused of harassing the Muslims. New Delhi seems to have been targeted not only to exhibit their capability for action in the capital, but also to wreak vengeance on the Government of India for its failure to prevent the demolition of the Babri Masjid in December,1992.The message says: "Babri Masjid was and will remain to be our glorious self esteem and Inshallah, we will prove it to you a hornet’s nest in which you have immersed your bare hand, unaware of the pain to come. If you are prepared to suffer the results of this issue,then by the will of Allah, verily! We will make you face it, and if you feel you are wise enough, then here we announce our ultimatum:Vacate the land of Babri as soon as you can." (15-9-08)
(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: email@example.com )