The Indian Mujahideen (IM) is drawing inspiration from Maoists.
Inspired by the Maoists' brazen attack on senior Congress leaders in Chhattisgarh last year, the terror outfit is planning to rework its strategy to "target leaders instead of attacking the general public" to shake the government for greater impact, according to a charge sheet filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) against IM operative Yasin Bhatkal and others.
Heavily-armed Maoists ambushed a convoy of Congress leaders inside a dense forest in Chhattisgarh's Bastar district in May 2013, killing 17 people, including senior leaders Mahendra Karma and former Union minister VC Shukla. Nineteen others were injured in the attack.
The NIA retrieved an Internet chat between IM co-founder Riyaz Bhatkal and Yasin Bhatkal on June 1 2013, in which Riyaz appreciated the Maoist attack on Congress leaders. "The attack has been able to shake the government," Riyaz told Yasin, according to the NIA's 277-page supplementary charge sheet. Riyaz mentioned that they (IM) had been targeting only the general public "which didn't affect the government much and government was cool after giving some compensation to affected persons". The NIA charge sheet quotes Riyaz as stating that they (IM) "should also do such activity of killing leaders".
Riyaz Bhatkal, allegedly based in Pakistan, is said to be a co-conspirator in several cases of terror attacks across India, including the 2007 Hyderabad bombings, the 2008 Jaipur blast and the 2010 German Bakery blast in Pune, where Yasin Bhatkal allegedly placed the explosive-packed bag near a restaurant table. Yasin was arrested last year.
The NIA charge sheet, against Yasin, Asadullah Akhtar, Manzar Imam and Uzair Ahmed, was filed at a district court in Delhi in February. The four have been charged with criminal conspiracy, being part of a banned organisation and different sections of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
The charge sheet revealed that IM has two factions that are operating separately from Pakistan. While one group is allegedly following the ISI's diktat, the other is flirting with Al Qaeda and Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan. The charge sheet also mentioned Al-Qaeda members talking about the Maoist attacks on Congress leaders. Incidentally, IM was disappointed with the Afghanistan Taliban for its refusal to formally tie-up with the organisation and work to further IM's agenda.