Without exception every media outlet in the country is calling Yasin Bhatkal (real name Zarar Ahmed Siddibaba) an “escape artist” or a “master of disguise” for having escaped arrest on a couple of occasions. That sounds like the Indian Mujahideen (IM) operative is a highly intelligent character. It’s reasonable to assume that terrorists are indeed a smart bunch to be operating the way they do. But this guy is so smart that he could hoodwink the Indian police twice? I have serious doubts about that. One, it appears that our police don’t share a national database of “wanted” criminals and two, they must be quite dumb to have believed and accepted his fake names and IDs as quickly as they did. Do police officials detain and allow top “wanted” suspects to go just like that? Not really! But in India there is political pressure to be soft on “certain suspects” as also by many sympathisers in the media. Nothing explains it better than the following piece of moronery:
“When in doubt about a terror investigation, blame the most readily available Muslims. Within days of the Dilsukh Nagar blasts in Hyderabad on February 21, the police announced the suspects were the Indian Mujahideen (IM), that its founder Riyaz Bhatkal was the possible "mastermind", and that 'Imran' and 'Maqbool' had recced the area… In the same week as the names 'Bhatkal', 'Maqbool' and 'Imran' swirled around in the media, two youths, journalist Muthi-ur Rahman Siddiqui, also once dubbed "mastermind" in a terror conspiracy by the media and DRDO scientist Aijaz Mirza were released after six months in jail”.
You probably guessed right. That little blast is from India’s greatest economist cum terror-expert cum social-genius cum moron par excellence Sagarika Ghose. She shoots her mouth off crying “meat shops” in Dilsukhnagar and then sermonises the police after the Hyderabad blasts of February 2013. She’s not alone. Most of the media and politicians force the police to go soft on Muslim suspects for very obvious reasons. Consequently, the police too play dumb and let off serious suspects (Sagarika obviously didn’t see Rahul Kanwal’s tweet in February). It is inevitable that in a terror-stricken country and in a terror-atmosphere some suspects will be held for longer periods till they’re cleared. Our police just allowed Bhatkal to walk away each time. Even Bollywood and South Indian actors have been detained in the US. It is unfortunate, but the threat of terror requires being absolutely careful. If you thought all this is phoney, then I recommend you read this story of a Hindu titled “Don’t travel during Ramadan” in the US (the story may be a bit dramatized but may not be entirely fake).
Bhatkal’s arrest probably came by absolute secrecy. The Intel agencies have now probably learned there are many leaks in the system. Yet, what did the Bihar cops do? A bit more of comedy! The moment they brought Bhatkal to the court at Motihari they made an “exhibit” of him and allowed the media to get close enough to get sound-bites from him. Which professional police force allows such an idiotic thing to happen? The police could have released their own pics or videos instead of allowing the media close to this terrorist. So they bring Bhatkal to the court in a black mask and then uncover it for the media to take a glimpse and then put it back on. Does that make any sense? Why the mask at all? Who were they hiding him from? Prospective brides? In the few seconds he got, Bhatkal grandly tells the media “Blasts happen, nothing new about them”. That, I agree with. Because even during the 26/11 attacks the Maharashtra HM R.R. Patil said "Bade bade shehron mein aisi choti choti baatein hoti rehti hain” (small attacks keep happening in big cities). Amazing, isn’t it? How the thoughts and lines of politicians and terrorists converge in strange coincidence. Patil thinks 26/11 was a small attack so there is practically nothing wrong in what Bhatkal says either.
Union Minister K. Rahman Khan even said there’s a “perception among Muslims that IM does not exist”. Bravo! The GOI and media must assume Muslims are totally ignorant and isolated from events. And then, the “self-styled” Indo-Pak peace maker NDTV comes up with another debate on the theory of “home grown terror” (August 29). So you have Barkha Dutt asking the question if Bhatkal’s arrest confirms home grown terror. Add to this concoction Mani Shankar Aiyar, your circle of denial comes right back. MSAiyar says he doesn’t know what the IM is or what their leadership structure is or what their operational cells are and that MHA should tell him and the parliament about it. Who are they making a case for? This is a good follow-up on A.K. Antony’s “dressed in Pak military uniform” comment. Obviously, it seems this was some effort to clear Pakistan having anything to do with IM. For the record, the IM was declared a terrorist organisation by GOI in 2010. The US and UK have also declared it a terrorist organisation. But MSAiyar and Rahman Khan, wilfully blind and ignorant as they are, want to know what IM is. The reason why India doesn’t progress in the fight against terrorists is there are people like these who put a spanner in the works.
The New York Police Dept. has even put all mosques in their area under a watch for terrorist activities. In India, some politicians and media folks are still debating whether IM exists at all. Naturally, they will make cops look like jokers. Yasin Bhatkal comes from a place called Bhatkal (Karnataka) which has been known in the past to ship bombs and bomb-making material. But hey, if you ask Digvijaya Singh he will tell you where all the bomb-making factories are located. Neither Diggy nor the NIA or CBI are yet to discover these RSS bomb factories. And believe it or not, Kamal Farooqui of SP said Bhatkal has been arrested because he’s a Muslim. Hmm… “Terror has no religion” does it? Bhatkal’s lawyer told the Patiala House court in Delhi he is not Bhatkal but some “Mohammad Ahmed”. Left to these guys, they would allow a blanket pardon for all Muslim terrorists by an enactment in parliament. So does anyone take India’s fight against terrorists seriously? Fortunately, former Home Secretary R.K. Singh was on NDTV too and here is what he said:
“We have a fair idea about the organisation (IM) and its roots, contacts etc., we also know who are their leaders. We also know where they are… so it’s not true that we are in the dark about IM. To say it’s home grown terror I would not agree. It’s not entirely home grown, the leaders are based in Pakistan, they are mentored by the ISI, the LeT. When people were taken to Pakistan for training they were received at the airport by ISI operatives. All that information we have”.
R.K. Singh is a man who should know; he has been in the thick of things for a long time. The previous Home Secretary G.K. Pillai and many other sources had certified Ishrat Jehan a LeT operative. Yet there are NGOs and vested interests that are in denial. If they want to challenge the encounter of Ishrat Jehan that is one thing, but to claim she had no connection to LeT despite all evidences and then hold “solidary meets” to mourn her is a shameful act. Pretty soon, there will be “solidary meets for Bhatkal” led by many of the NGOs and bounty-hunting lawyers. Digvijaya Singh and others even suspected the Batla House encounter in which a senior cop was killed. Farooqui has already sounded a bugle for them. Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat and some other states are seeking custody of Bhatkal to question him. Well, the Bihar govt that got first custody did not even want to question him and there’s no report of even an FIR being filed. That’s how Nitish Kumar wants to fight terrorists who have made strong bases in Bihar.
Trying to create the impression that IM or any other terror group is merely home-grown is a tactic used by the Pakistan-friendly gangs to ensure dialogue continues with that failed state or to protect their own vested interests. The real question that Barkha Dutt should have asked instead of the stupid “How big is the home grown terror threat?” is “How big is the gang of politicians, media crooks, NGOs and assorted vested interests who defend terrorists?” As long as we have powerful forces backed with endless funds the fight against terrorists will be a long struggle. It makes our police force a handicapped unit. For the media that claims that Bhatkal’s arrest is a “big blow to IM” it’s a premature act of moronery that is consistent with their practice of talking utter nonsense. Bhatkal’s saviours may be just around the next bend or the next corner. Bhatkal’s case has been given to the NIA. Everyone knows where that might end up.