Indian security agencies unleash home grown terror

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Jo chup rahegi zuban-e khanjar
Lahu pukaarega aasteen ka...
   — Ameer Meenai, 19th century, Lucknow poet

In the best, figurative-dialectical tradition of Urdu poetry, the afore-mentioned couplet unites two opposite meanings. First, the silence of the knife, an instrument that is used to kill, and by virtue of its nature and material force, cannot remain noiseless. Second, the clamour of spilled blood on the collar, that again by nature and insinuation, is in reality, condemned to remain devoid, forever, of speech.  

I am not aware whether officers of various security agencies — the IB and state-level ATSs, special cells and crime branches — know Urdu. But one thing is sure: that Urdu knows them well. Like the perennial, hard-boiled detective of the jasoosi novels of Ibn-e Safi, the Allahabad-based father of detective fiction in the Urdu-Hindi heartland, the language catches the contradictions in their stories, points towards blatant lies and ambiguities in their chargesheets. Urdu  stalks the agencies as they go around inventing an entity like “Indian Mujahideen”, grind innocent Muslims and their families to dust in turf wars, undermine India’s constitution, sovereignty, and dance to the tune of RSS, Mossad, the CIA and may be the MI6.   

In my last column, I had written about Abu Jundal - actually Zabihuddin Ansari, an IB informer, who had helped the agency track down illegal arms in 2006 at Aurangabad. The Delhi Police Special Cell brought him over to India, painting him as the mastermind/moving force behind 26/11. He supposedly revealed sensational aspects of the 26/11 case — how orders were being passed in a “control room” on Pakistani soil and so on and so forth.

Yet, during secretary-level talks between India and Pakistan, Indian MEA officials were unable to present something concrete in terms of evidence to back the claim that 26/11 was state-sponsored by Pakistan. All we could present were confessions that even Indian courts scorn!

So the agency that brought Abu Jundal over to India — flashing his revelations all across the compliant Indian media — basically made a fool out of genuine Indians who want terror attacks to stop and unearth the truth behind 26/11.

India’s position on 26/11 stands severally weakened — not strengthened — the world over  after the Abu Jundal affair.
If we rewind the story of turf wars between agencies, certain uncomfortable truths emerge:

1. On 19th September 2008, during the Batla House encounter, which was conducted by the Delhi Police, a team of Mumbai Police was present in the same Zakir Nagar area. Apparently, the Mumbai Police was looking for someone else, most probably Riaz and Iqbal Bhatkal whom they thought were responsible for the 16 July Ahmedabad and several other blasts of 2008.   

2. A Mumbai Police source reveals that the Mumbai Police knew of Atif and Sajid, and the “terror module cell” of the Zakir Nagar, Delhi, area where they lived. Yet, as per the source, the Mumbai Police was not of the view that Atif and Sajid were behind the 2008 blasts.

3. According to the official Mumbai Police version, Atif’s name appeared first from the lips of one Afzal Usmani, a car thief, caught by the Mumbai Crime Branch (headed by Rakesh Maria at that time). Usmani was accused by the Mumbai Police for stealing the cars which were used to plant bombs in Ahmedabad on 16 July, 2008.  

4. But the Gujarat Police have a different take on the issue. According to them, the cars used in the Ahmedabad blasts were parked first in Bharuch in the premises of a London based NRI.

5. Acting on this tip, the Gujarat Police found out that one Sajid Mansuri was living in that house on rent. The Gujarat Police had Mansuri’s number. While tracing call records, the Gujarat Police “stumbled” on the “fact” that a call was made from an eastern Uttar Pradesh person from Mumbai to Sajid’s phone, just before the Ahmedabad blasts. Then that eastern Uttar Pradesh person called Atif’s number in Delhi.

6. Notably, Gujarat Police does not mention the role of Usmani while the Mumbai Police knows nothing about Sajid Mansuri. Yet, a third agency – the Delhi Police – invents these connections. A story is constructed as to how Afzal Usmani first stole the cars from Mumbai, brought them over to Bharuch, from where they were transported to Ahmedabad and used in the blasts.

7. Now, cases against alleged “IM operatives” are registered in Maharashtra, Delhi, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka. But in the chargesheet submitted by various agencies in their respective courts, the role played by different actors do not tally. Most of the chargesheets are fudged and not available. Yet, even a cursory look shows that in the same case, Sajid Mansuri is playing a different role in Mumbai Police files, a different one in Gujarat Police charges, and a very different one in Delhi Police records!

8. But the best part has yet to come. Officially, both Mumbai and Gujarat Police had alerted the IB about Atif Ameen. Days before the Batla House encounter, the IB was keeping Atif’s phone under surveillance! A post-Batla House encounter article, published in The Hindu, states that the IB did not arrest Atif as his phone might have led the agencies to the Bhatkals, who were supposed to be the main guys behind the 2008 blasts.

9. It is important that the Hindu article (, written actually in defence of the Delhi Police, betrays the possibility that Atif could have been arrested. You do not kill a man who is already under your surveillance. You keep him alive so that he leads you to the bigger fish.

10. The Hindu article also suggests that Mohan Chandra Sharma and other Delhi Police cops went to Batla House merely to enquire about Atif. They received a burst of fire that hit Mohan Chandra Sharma, after which they fired in return and killed Atif and Sajid.

11. But the question is that if the Mumbai and Gujarat Police got Atif’s name respectively from Usmani and Mansuri, what was Delhi Police’s source?

12. Maybe the IB let Delhi Police in-but officially the IB was keeping Atif not only alive but kicking to net the bigger catch.
Now the really uncomfortable part starts:

1. Was IB in agreement – or was it even informed - about Delhi Police’s attempt to storm the Batla House building?

2. Mumbai, Gujarat, Delhi and other state agencies need not necessarily share information. The IB too possesses the right to withhold or share its information. Here, however, it is obvious that the Delhi Police acted on its own – more importantly, other state and central agencies were not in the loop. What was a Mumbai Police team doing in the same area on the same day? Looking for Bhatkals? Then why was there no coordination between Delhi and Mumbai Police? The IB and Mumbai Police still believe that arresting Atif would have been a better option.

3. But what if the Delhi Police claim that it had gone only to enquire and the encounter was an accident? Ha! Ha! The Delhi Police do not claim thus. On the contrary, they still take the credit of what is described as a full-fledged encounter in which both sides were armed.

Interestingly, since the chain linking Usmani, Sajid Mansuri and Atif is different in different chargesheets of different state Police forces, isn’t it logical to merge the different versions and create a proper, professional, scientific file that makes sense? But, of course, how can that happen? Different states are ruled by different governments. Naquee Ahmed, the Delhi Police informer, is arrested by the Mahrashtra ATS as a terrorist. Qateel Siddiqui, a man wanted by IB and West Bengal Police in a fake currency case, is arrested by the Delhi Police and declared a terrorist. The Mumbai Police take his custody for interrogation. He is found dead -- killed by so-called Hindu criminals in the maximum security, anda cell of Pune’s Yerwada Jail. Then the Delhi Police brings Zabihuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal - an IB informer - over from Saudi Arabia - declaring him a terrorist.

It would require a full enquiry to fill in the horrendous gaps and trace the messy, convoluted trail of blood, inefficiency and slaughter left behind by the devilish dance of security agencies. But some issues are clear:

1. The Mahrashtra Police has a role to play - and a vested interest - in Qateel Siddiqui’s murder in Pune. Qateel after all was a “terrorist” arrested by the Delhi Police. The credit for “revelations” made by him would have gone to the Delhi Police.

2. Naquee Ahmed was arrested by the Maharashtra Police for the same reason - settling scores with the Delhi Police.
3. Abu Jundal’s extradition too is linked to the turf wars between various agencies.

4. Hundreds of Muslim youth are languishing in jails in the name of anti-terror operations for being “IM members”. The situation has become so desperate that as soon as one state agency catches a Muslim youth, the other state agency immediately wants his custody. Then the third state agency starts demanding its pound of flesh. It seems that state Police agencies are not confident about the suspects they have chargesheeted. Are they nervous that there is no evidence against youths lodged in Delhi, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Karntaka jails?  So all state agencies clamour for custody as soon as one of them nets a “catch”?     

5. There is big money involved in keeping the various state level ATSs, Special Cells and the Crime Branches. These forces are allowed to spend billions - including buying “sophisticated” weaponry - and are not accountable to anyone.

6. Anti-Muslim, communal biases seem to guide the agencies. But even if we set aside the communal angle for a moment, MONEY also can function as a major motivator for state and central actors to implicate innocents and start a game which has no end.

7. It is an open secret that Mossad, the infamous, dirty agency of Israel, interrogates Muslim prisoners inside Indian jails, especially in Mumbai and Delhi.

8. Mossad functionaries have been found inside Military Intelligence (MI) zones in Rajasthan and Jammu & Kashmir. The pathetic manner in which Colonel Raj Kumar Purohit, leader of the Hindutva terror brigade and an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blasts, was sought to be shielded recently by forces inside the Indian military, is a stern reminder of the fact that foreign agencies might have infiltrated our military as well.     

For personal gains, and to feed the anti-Muslim phobia of Israel and the US, Indian security agencies are putting India’s security and sovereignty at risk. If there is home-grown terrorism in India, it is not being perpetrated by the IM or some imagined Muslim terrorist group. The IB, Military Intelligence and various state agencies represent the real hub of home-grown terror. My charge is that terror plots, in which innocent Indians lose their lives, are planned inside their offices, in collusion with Mossad-type security forces. they need to be exposed and punished.     

   Everything again boils down to Urdu. There is a complete lack of trust between victims and Indian security forces. The latter have become a law unto themselves. Indians can only taunt them with Ghalib’s couplet:  
   Tere waade par jiye hum to aye jaan jhoot jaana
   To say that I lived on your promises [of national security] is to       
    make my life a lie
    Ki khushi se mar na jaate agar aitebaar hota   

    Would I not have died of happiness if you were really trustworthy?
Amaresh Misra blogs on where this article appeared first

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 August 2012 on page no. 1

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