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Uttar Pradesh is infested with Terrorists
Militants have made Uttar Pradesh their base, as 34 of the 74 districts are terrorist infested. The state is also home to the highest number of ISI- backed espionage modules. Mahrashtra and Andhra Pradesh too have strong militant base.
EVEN AS police and intelligence agencies continue probing the suspects of November 23 serial blasts in communally sensitive Varanasi, Faizabad and Lucknow cities, reports clearly indicate that Uttar Pradesh is fast developing as base of the militants. Thirty-four of the 70 districts are terrorist infested, while the state is also home to the highest number of ISI- backed espionage modules, official sources said. “Militants network is so strong that they can engineer blasts at a time in different cities,” a top STF officer remarked.
 
Ten out of 30 such modules busted in the country during last three years have confirmed having their roots in Uttar Pradesh with three being in two cities – Varanasi and Lucknow. These two cities and Faizabad were among the three cities, which faced the latest terror onslaught on Friday last, killing 13 people with over 60 wounded.
 
Union MoS for home Sriprakash Jaiswal recently admitted in Rajya Sabha that 10 ISI backed espionage modules have been neutralized in Agra, Meerut, Varanasi, Rampur, Lucknow and Saharanpur districts resulting in the arrest of 13 agents, including five Pakistani nationals. Uttar Pradesh that way accounts for more than one-fourth of the total 39 espionage modules busted in the country. Twenty-two terrorists are lodged in Lucknow jail alone.
 
Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh are the other two states where Indian agencies have been successful in neutralizing the espionage networks between 2004 and 2007.
 
The number of terror attacks in these three states during the period clearly show a much wider pattern of sleeper cells of these espionage modules who have generally been successful in getting the actual strikes carried out by their local network.
 
UP faced highest number of attacks like (Ayodhya- Ram Janambhumi complex), Varanasi (railway station, Sankat Mochan temple), Jaunpur (Shramjeevi Express) and recent serial blasts in the court complexes in Lucknow, Varanasi and Faizabad. All these incidents have occurred during 2005-2007.
 
Similarly, Andhra Pradesh witnessed terror strikes twice in Hyderabad, first on Mecca Mosque in May and later serial blasts at two crowded places in the city in August while Maharashtra faced serial blasts in Mumbai and attack in Malegaon last year.
 
Interestingly intelligence agencies have also established the fact that the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) had links with these modules. SIMI has always been described as ‘fertile ground’ for the ISI and other militant groups to recruit their activists as Indian agents.
 
Sources say for ISI backed espionage modules and militant groups, UP, location wise has an extra edge because of the 863 KM open porous Indo Nepal border.
 
Security agencies have reports that more than 300 fresh Madarsas have mushroomed on Indo-Nepal border in last three years and these Madarsas are centre of suspicious activities.
 
These are being used as part of the militant group networks, sources said. ‘Fake currency is being pumped up by ISI through porous border,’ sources pointed out.
 
Anti-nationals usually exploit the populace on either side of the two borders to achieve their aim. “It is difficult to identify and sieve out the unwanted elements from the general populace who earn their bread and butter through petty farming”, they said quipped. The Shanti Suraksha Bal (SSB) Jawans deployed there keep close watch on such suspects and pass on valuable intelligence inputs to both the state intelligence agencies the IB.
 
On the other hand, recent serial blasts have revealed a new pattern in terror strikes like a possible alignment of support cells of two or more banned militant outfits besides the meticulous planning behind the timing of the blast and use of a combination of low and high intensity bombs. “A similar strategy was used by Lashker-E-Taiba (LeT), while triggering such explosions in Gateway of India in Mumbai blast in August 2003 suggesting a well planned strikes in Uttar Pradesh as well. The idea behind the combination of low and high blast is to first attract a crowd around the site and then triggering the second blast a few minutes later as it happened in case of Varanasi and Faizabad.
 
Use of ammonium nitrate, fitted with detonators and timer device and packed in tiffins, which in turn were strapped to bicycles, may be the five common elements of the serial blasts, but the presence of RDX in the live bomb recovered from Lucknow has baffled the investigators.
 
We have some encouraging leads and are sure to come up with results in the near future, STF officials probing the blasts said.
 
The authorities are however pinning their hopes that the creation of the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS), strengthening of the STF and the state intelligence department might equip the state police to counter growing threat of militancy in months to come.
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