|The arrested Lashkar operatives in New Delhi. A file picture
New Delhi, Dec. 27: Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba tried but could not forge an alliance with the People's United Liberation Front because the Manipur group had only recently entered into a “truce” with the army.
Police began probing the PULF’s alleged links with Lashkar-e-Toiba after three arrested militants of the outlawed Pakistani group claimed that they were in Manipur to find prospective recruits among the state’s Pangal Muslim population and explore the possibility of an alliance with the local outfit.
The three Lashkar militants — Salman Khurshid Kori, Abdur Rehman and Mohammad Akbar Hussain — were arrested in New Delhi on December 19.
Sources quoted the trio as saying that they approached leaders of the PULF, only to be told that a tie-up was not possible because of a tacit understanding with the army that neither side would attack one another. A top PULF leader had visited the capital a few months ago to meet army officials.
Kuki militant groups have also suspended hostilities in Manipur.
Although confirmation about Lashkar’s failure to rope in the PULF is a relief for the security establishment, it is still unclear what percentage of the Muslim population of Manipur supports fundamentalist groups like the one from across the border.
Investigators only know that Lashkar functionaries have been successfully motivating youths to join its ranks. Kori himself is an example of how fundamentalist propaganda can lead a youth astray.
Kori quit a missionary school in his native state in 2001 after a teacher allegedly made disparaging remarks about his religion. He visited Deoband and Aligarh, where he came in contact with Lashkar functionary Salim Salar, alias Doctor.
Doctor was killed in an encounter with the police in Lucknow earlier this year, but he had indoctrinated Kori by then. His friends tried to dissuade him from joining the Lashkar ranks and even bought him a train ticket to return home but Kori was convinced that his life’s mission was to do what his mentor asked him to, sources said.
The youth from Manipur was taken to Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, where he underwent the Daura-e-aam (basic course), Daura-e-khaas (specialised course) and Daura-e-sufa (religious study) to become a full-fledged Lashkar militant in 2004.
It was Kori who recruited Rehman, Hussain and Zaid, alias Saifullah, from Manipur and sent them to Kashmir. Zaid was killed in an encounter there.
Police, Intelligence Bureau and RAW sleuths are jointly interrogating the arrested trio. Kori and his accomplices were part of a four-man team chosen for subversive activities in the capital.