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ISI bid to spread terror during Indian elections.

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    ISI bid to spread terror during Indian elections.

    Desperate ISI bid to spread terror during election

    Josy Joseph

    Pakistan-trained militants are targeting minority localities to set up bases, intelligence sources have said.

    Interrogation of several militants arrested across the northern and eastern regions of the country have revealed an intensified effort by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence to spread terror in the country during the elections and target key political figures. To establish a base in India, the militants are targeting areas where "communities like Muslims and Sikhs are residing in large numbers," a senior intelligence official said.

    Arrested members of the Lashkar-e-Toiba, Khalistan Commando Force and other such organisations revealed that they were trying to set up bases in the Kashmir valley, Punjab, certain parts of Delhi and in the Sikh-dominated parts of Terai region in Uttar Pradesh. Besides, fresh attempts were on to spread their tentacles to South India, where, again, Muslim-majority areas are being targeted.

    The interrogation of an 11-member Laskhar-e-Toiba team, arrested in mid-August by the Jammu and Kashmir police, revealed that militants have fanned out to areas including Jammu and Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi, sources said. The leader of the team was Amir Khan, a Pakistani national who was here to recruit Indians who had lost their immediate relatives in communal violence. In his attempt to build an Indian identity, he had obtained educational certificates, driving licences and was even planning to marry into a Muslim family living in Thane, Maharashtra.

    The cell had based its operatives in Bombay and Bhiwandi, two areas where communal violence in the past have left very deep divisions. It was two Bhiwandi residents who obtained the certificates for Amir Khan. Among his recruits was a student of the Jamia Milia Islamia university in Delhi.

    A recent home ministry report on increasing activities of ISI-backed militants in the North-East too has pointed at the presence of a large number of suspicious characters in Muslim-dominated areas. In fact, several organisations have cropped up recently in Assam, where the demography of many districts have changed drastically due to a large influx of Muslims from Bangladesh.

    The home ministry report, prepared for Home Secretary Kamal Pandey's visit to Assam, speaks of the massive migration of Bangladeshis to the state. "Among these migrants, there could be a large of miscreants. We have ample evidence to that effect," an official said.

    Recent arrests also revealed attempts by these Islamic fundamentalist groups to spread their presence to South India. There have been arrests of Islamic terrorists in Golconda, Hyderbad-Secunderabad, Tamil Nadu and some parts of Karnataka. In Kerala too there have been several obscure Islamic groups cropping up with doubtful sources of income, sources said.

    Recent arrests of several terrorists in Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh expose desperate attempts to bring to life defunct Sikh fundamentalist organisations. Charanjit Singh Sukha, the right hand of Paramjit Singh Panjwar who heads a faction of the Khalistan Commando Force, was among the arrested in Delhi. He admitted to the police that the KCF (Panjwar) group had planned a series of explosions in the Capital, which would have been more severe than the Bombay blasts.

    Intelligence sources said that the KCF (Panjwar) and some other groups have been trying to find a foothold in Sikh-dominated areas too. Most of the arrests were made in Delhi, Punjab and Terai region, where there are quite a few Sikh-majority localities. In Punjab too, reports say, there were attempts to resurrect the defunct terrorist outfits.

    Recent investigations also reveal that despite pumping in money, the ISI was unable to locate enough loyal men for carrying out subversive works in the country, home ministry sources claim.