Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Amir Raza Khan- Ordinary Man To Dreaded Terrorist

Amir Raza Khan was one of the people sought by India in the dossiers that were handed over to Pakistan during the recent foreign secretary-level talks in New Delhi.

Officials in New Delhi and the Intelligence Bureau believe that Khan could be another Hafiz Saeed (Jamaat-ud Dawah chief and Lashkar-e-Tayiba founder) in the making.

Khan, who grew rapidly in stature in terror circles, had a major role to play in the setting up of the Indian Mujahideen.

Today as investigations into the German bakery blast in Pune progress, it has been revealed that Khan was very much at the centre of planning the operation, which was executed as part of the Karachi Plot formulated by the ISI, LeT and the Harkat-ul-Jihadi Islami.

Who is Amir Raza Khan?

The terrorist in him was brought out following the death of his brother, Asif Raza Khan -- a gangster in Gujarat. Amir, who did odd jobs in Gujarat, swore to avenge Asif's death and gathered a couple of like-minded men and set up the Asif Raza Commando Force.

The group sought to target police personnel in Gujarat. In the years that followed, they came under the Lashkar radar. It was around the same time that Amir had a chance meeting with Riyaz Bhatkal (founder of the Indian Mujahideen). The duo decided to set up a strong force to carry out terrorist operations in India. Incidentally, the Lashkar too was looking for a dedicated Indian outfit following the ban on SIMI to carry out their operations. Hence, the Indian Mujahideen was born.

Once the IM was set up, Amir left for Pakistan to monitor the outfit's operations from there while Bhatkal stayed back in India. He, eventually, became the blue-eyed-boy of jihadi outfits.

Prior to his escape into Pakistan, Amir moved base to Kolkata where he ran a visa agency, which, according to Bureau officials, was used to make fake passports and facilitate travel of (over 8000) cadres across the border.

The IB says that this agency helped propel the IM into a different league. His proximity to the bosses in the Lashkar helped him raise funds for the outfit and over the years they managed to make the IM a force to reckon with.

Today, it is essential to cut short Amir's journey. The IB says that the ISI has roped in the senior IM members for the Karachi Plot. Investigation into the Pune blasts also clearly suggests that the execution of Karachi Plot had commenced and the entire planning involved Amir and Bhatkal.

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