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Is SIMI planning to come back?

August 06, 2009 16:51 IST

There has been a sudden crackdown on alleged activists of the Students Islamic Movement of India on the ground that they are planning on reviving the outfit.

While this is one of the reasons that is being stated by security agencies the other reason is an alert sent by the Intelligence Bureau to all police stations in the country to keep a watch on the training programmes of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba.

The IB alert was sent following intercepts from across the border and also on the basis of the information provided by the Indian Mujahideen activists who are being interrogated by the Mumbai ATS.

The operatives revealed that the Lashkar has several rungs of its outfits existing in the country and training activity is on in full swing. Though some of them claimed that there is a constant effort to revive the Students Islamic Movement of India, IB sources say that it is unlikely that they may use the same name again.

The IB says that as of now the Lashkar is relying heavily on the Indian Mujahideen to further its India operations and there is a constant effort to pump in funds to ensure that the training activity across India does not stop. Following the Mumbai  terror attacks,  there was a slump in the recruitment process, but now these outfits are slowly trying to revive themselves.

The IB says they have kept all police stations across the country in the loop regarding these developments and they in turn would need to keep a constant watch on all activity that is going on inside the state.

For the Lashkar, these are difficult times. Both their Southern and Northern networks have been busted by the police of the respective states. Following the crackdown, the Lashkar had issued a directive to all its operatives to lie low for sometime and ensure that the remaining cells do not come out in the open. They were specifically asked to revive these cells after a while and it appears that the Lashkar thinks that now is the right time.

As part of the first phase, sources say, the Lashkar plans to revive its Southern chapter. There is an effort on to revive its main unit in Kerala which in turn would branch out to the rest of the southern states.

With Riyaz Bhatkal still on the loose, the Lashkar hopes that he would be the man who would take up this job. The IB says training camps would be closely scrutinised.

These camps lead to the making of a terrorist and if the respective police personnel are able to track this down, then it would help the security of the nation a great deal.

The IB, however, says it is difficult to specify the number of training camps in the country. The camps are usually concentrated in village areas and also in jungles away from the public eye. There is a need to conduct combing operations with other agencies in order to track down the camps.

Training camps at present are active in Kerala, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra,  and Gujarat. These are areas of importance to the Lashkar and hence there is a directive to concentrate largely on these areas.

The camps in Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh are the strongest ones and there is news that a large number of former SIMI activists in coordination with the newer IM operatives are helping further the Lashkar cause.

The camps in Maharashtra too are being built up following a massive crackdown in the aftermath of the 26/11 attack. The camps in Karnataka and Kerala would act as the feeders for South India.

The entire base of both Kerala and Karnataka were shaken up following the investigation into the serial blasts case and this hurt this group bad. However now there is a desperate effort to revive the same.
 

Vicky Nanjappa in Bengaluru