Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Nashik coming up on IM radar

The Mumbai ATS revealed following the interrogation of two persons arrested in connection with the German Bakery blasts case that Nashik was high on the terror radar. They had also revealed that the one of the accused in the case had even surveyed a couple of security establishments in this connection.

Sources in the Intelligence Bureau told rediff.com groups such as the Lashkar-e-Tayiba have always tried to set up base in Nashik and this has been going on since the time the train blasts were planned. While one of the reasons is to strengthen their hold over the entire state of Maharashtra, the other obvious reason was to target the RSS and other Hindu groups which have a stronghold in these areas.

The Lashkar first tried to set up a base in Nashik and Nagpur with the help of Mohammad Faisal Ataur Rehman Shaikh, a key accused in the train blasts case which is under trial at the moment. While planning on executing the train blasts, Shaikh along with Azam Cheema had set up small modules in both Nashik as well as Nagpur. At that point of time, they had managed to set up three modules, but all three were neutralized following a major crack down after the train blasts.

The Lashkar also saw that some Hindu groups were becoming stronger in these belts and likes of Sadhvi Pragya Singh and Colonel Purohit had managed to get a hold over these belts. So, for the Lashkar it became even more important to set up bases in Nashik in a bid to counter any other force.

Today according to sources there are at least 8 terror modules at Nashik alone which are in sleep mode. These modules have been instructed not to carry out any attack as of now and they have been given the responsibility of carrying out a recees and collecting data.

In late 2009, the Lashkar had made an attempt to target the RSS headquarters in Nashik. Intelligence inputs suggested that at least 8 fidayeens had slipped into India and they were planning on targeting the RSS headquarters and also a couple of security establishments in New Delhi. They had planned on attacking in buddy pairs and the main focus of this operation was at Nashik, Nagpur and New Delhi. However this attack was not carried out and it came to light later that the entire operation was part of a dry run to test the security levels in these places.

For the Lashkar run Indian Mujahideen, Pune was the main centre to launch terror strikes. However now they are moving towards places like Nashik and Nagpur and are setting up base over there. Apart from attempting to counter their enemy modules in Nashik, the Lashkar also has in mind the proximity between this place and Mumbai which for them is an epicenter.

Regarding the operations in Nashik, the Lashkar is very clear that it will be overseen by the likes of Azam Cheema and Riyaz Bhatkal. All new modules coming up in these places are overseen by the two of them due to their familiarity with the existing modules and terrain in the state.

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