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AP Police Ignores Warning:Hyderabad – Bangladesh NEXUS, by T.D. Jagadesan, 10 September 2007 Print E-mail

Events And Issues

New Delhi, 10 September 2007

AP Police Ignores Warning

Hyderabad – Bangladesh NEXUS

By T.D. Jagadesan

In January 2005, there was considerable consternation in the old quarters of Hyderabad. A section of the people living there were agitated that the Saudi Arabia King who was coming to Delhi as the Chief Guest for the Republic Day parade, had not extending his trip to Hyderabad.

The agitation was covered extensively in the Urdu press (and also in the English press) and the aggrieved people were bitter that in the good old days when oil had not been struck it was the Nizam who used to be the benefactor of the Saudi Kings. “The Nizam sent the first doctor and car to Saudi Arabia. He was the first to build pilgrim houses in Mecca. So in the fitness of things, the King should have come to Hyderabad to repay his old debts,” was the common refrain of the people in the Old City.

“The rest of the city found this behaviour very strange. But as modernity and economic development had bypassed this section of the city, the residents searched for an identity. And harked back to the Nizam’s golden era when he was the biggest Muslim kingdom in the world,” said a political observer.

In these circumstances the agents of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Harkat-ul-Jehad-Al-Islami (HUJI) found Hyderabad’s Old City a fertile ground for the recruitment of jehadis. Especially post 9/11 which had given an impetus to the process of radicalization.

More so, in the context of the politics practiced in the Old City where the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) lords over one Lok Sabha and five Assembly constituencies. True, the scene is changing with many madrassas being modernized and women coming out to study and work even in call centres. But the pace of change is very slow.

In fact, the process of radicalization started in the mid-nineties with the ISI starting to hire recruits from Hyderabad. But as Indian intelligence agencies became smarter and saw the link of State-sponsored terrorism from across the Western borders, the ISI outfits started donning other identities.

“Pakistani operators realized that the Indo-Bangladesh border was more porous and infiltration was quite easy. So Pakistan’s intelligence outfits spawned outfits in Bangladesh,” said a senior Hyderabad police officer.

What helped them was the fact that for some strange reason there has been an economic connection between Hyderabad and Bangladesh. Over the last few years many technicians, fitters, tradesman and other artisans have found part-time employment in Bangladesh. Small companies have taken up contracts in Dhaka and have been sending men there for a period of six months. This made the process of infiltration and ideological indoctrination easier.

The process received a jolt only when there was a blast on Dusherra in the office of the task force at the Hyderabad Police Commissionerate a few years ago. The perpetrator of the blast died but the police identified him as a Bangladeshi. This was the first time that the Bangladesh angle came up prominently. Despite being there earlier, but had been ignored. One Bangladeshi militant who was arrested for killing an Additional Superintendent of Police was handed over a life sentence, but was strangely let off by the Government in an amnesty for prisoners on Independence Day.

Even as Hyderabad was honing on the Bangladeshi ultras, America radars too were whetting them but for entirely different reasons. The IT era in Hyderabad was heralded by the then US President Clinton visit to the city in 1999. In the years that followed Clinton’s trip, hi-tech US investments made it a software-cum-BPO boomtown.

Clinton’s successor George Bush did one better. On his visit to Hyderabad in March 2006 (a month after the Saudi King gave it a miss) he announced the opening of full-fledged American consulate. A significant decision, against the backdrop that there was a US Consulate already in Chennai.

With Hyderabad gaining in prominence and investments, the jehadis viewed the city as an attractive target. As hitting Hyderabad would have a massive spin-off effect thanks to inflow of US funds.

Besides, with the State and its police unprepared for a terror attack Hyderabad become an easy target. Traditionally, the State Administration was geared to deal with only the law and order problems created by the Naxalalites and largely ignored the terrorist threat. Notwithstanding, the warning by the CBI and intelligence agencies.

Shockingly, the State Intelligence Bureau has no expertise in dealing with terrorist groups and is clueless about the terrorists’ modus operandi. Worse, it just keeps itself abreast of the Maoist groups’ activities and their hideouts. Which had largely been annihilated in the last two years.

To cap it all, the top brass of the Andhra police force is more conscious of keeping on the right side of the political bosses than with effective policing. With the powers-that-be looking at everything from the prism of votes, the Police Chiefs are prevented from taking action to maintain law and order as their actions are perceived as unpopular decisions.

A case in point. The former Police Commissioner of Hyderabad, A.K. Mohanty, who was strict about implementing the rule of law in the Old City, was soon on a collision course with the MIM whose writ runs large there. The MIM’s Chief Asauddin Owaisi started complaining that about Mohanty’s office becoming the hub of Left parties’ activities and Mohanty was removed. No matter that the Left was chipping away at the MIM’s vote base.

Today with Mohanty’s successor reportedly the pendulum has swung in favour of the MIM, which is back to its activities. Evidence of this came to the fore during the recent attack on well known Bangladeshi writer and liberal Taslima Nasreen. Even as the police launched a case against the MIM MLAs who disrupted her function, they also booked Nasreen much to the chagrin of neutral observers.

In sum, there is no gainsaying that the enemies across the borders are least concerned about peace in India. They want to incite one community against another. ---INFA

 (Copyright, India News and Feature Alliance)


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