Patna, Sept. 1: The Bihar police have stepped up operations against alleged Indian Mujahideen (IM) operatives after the arrest of its top-ranking leader Yasin Bhatkal.
Bhatkal told the police and National Investigation Agency (NIA) personnel before being taken to Delhi on Friday that he had inducted a number of youths hailing from the Mithilanchal region, whose names figured in the terror attacks carried out by the IM across the country.
Bhatkal disclosed about the places he had visited earlier for strengthening the organisation’s base in Darbhanga, Madhubani and Samastipur districts. He used to operate in the garb of a regular practitioner of an ancient system of medicine.
Inspector-general (Darbhanga zone) J.S. Gangwar said senior police officers have been asked to intensify the search for suspected IM operatives, whose list with photographs and addresses had been provided by the NIA. “Instructions have already been issued to the officers to ascertain the whereabouts of the fugitives suspected to be involved in terror attacks in different parts of the country. The photographs with addresses of the absconding terrorists were pasted at public places seeking information from the local residents,” he said today.
Bhatkal, (30), a native of Karnataka and co-founder of the IM, was arrested from the Nahar Chowk locality of Raxaul sub-divisional along India-Nepal border in East Champaran district on Thursday. His associate Asadullah Akhtar, a resident of Azamganrh in Uttar Pradesh, was also taken into custody.
A senior Bihar police officer who along with other intelligence and security agencies questioned Bhatkal after he was picked up from Nepal border said the IM operational chief (India) had set up a network in the three districts of Mithilanchal and was trying to spread its tentacles in the adjoining ones.
The officer, who did not wish to be named, said Bhatkal told the interrogators that he used to target potential boys (teen-aged) and recruited them for specific operations. “The recruitment process is very tough and the recruits have to pass through different tests,” the officer quoted Bhatkal as saying. He reportedly told the interrogators that only those boys were selected for second round of training who succeeded in the task assigned to them by the organisation. “There are chances of being deceived. Motivating a youth for jihad is not a child’s play and it needs a good deal of perseverance,” the officer quoted Bhatkal as saying.
He said Bhatkal admitted to have recruited all the 18 youths who had been arrested in the past two years either from Bihar and other parts of the country for their involvement in the bomb blasts. All the arrested IM operatives belonged to the Darbhanga and Madhubani districts. A few other alleged IM operatives have also been arrested from Katihar and Purnea districts.
Gangwar, however, refused to share more information on the plea that the matter was related to the country’s security. “Agencies like the NIA are already on the job and the police would cooperate with them, if needed,” he said, adding that the police chiefs of the districts on the porous international border have been asked to step up surveillance on those involved in anti-national activities.
Gangwar’s missive assumes significance in the wake of revelation made by Bhatkal that the IM has focused on pumping fake Indian currency notes through Nepal and Bangladesh borders. Sources said the NIA and other security agencies have alerted the directorate of revenue intelligence about the flow of fake currency notes on the two borders.