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Terror cloud over K'taka

Terror cloud over K'taka

Author: N D Shiva Kumar
Publication: The Times of India
Date: February 23, 2008

Introduction: The Changing Face of Terrorism

Doctors, engineers and techies. The face of terror has changed in Karnataka. In less than two years, seven youths with professional degrees or registered for professional courses have been held in the drive against terror. The number is set to increase as the state police sets out on a manhunt for more educated youths who are absconding.

Bangalore has contributed a fair number of educated professionals to the terror network and the profile of the arrested youths best explains the changing trend in terrorism. The finesse of their planning and execution is shocking.

It began with the arrest of Muzammil Sheikh, a software engineer, in connection with the 2006 train blasts in Mumbai. Mumbai cops arrested him following information that his brother Faizal Sheikh was an LeT leader.

Next to be unearthed were the Ahmed brothers-Dr Sabeel Ahmed, MBBS, and Kafeel Ahmed, a PhD scholar in aeronautical engineering-arrested in connection with a London terror plot and the attack on Glasgow airport in the UK. Kafeel was fatally burnt in the Glasgow attack and Sabeel is in a UK high-security prison. A cousin, Mohammed Haneef, a physician in an Australian hospital, was accused of terror links but courts found no evidence and freed him.

In the last one month, of six people were arrested by Karnataka cops-three are medical students from North Karnataka region and a graduate engineer from Bangalore. While Mohammed Asif and Allabaksh were MBBS students, Asaduallah Abubaker was an ayurvedic medicine student, and Yahya Khan an engineer. Senior police officers confirm they are looking out for more associates of the arrested, mostly doctors and engineers.

Why the educated?

Al-Qaida changed the functioning of terror groups worldwide. The strategies have changed, providing ample opportunities for the educated. The Karnataka Anti-Terrorist Cell has found that terror plotters use latest technologies-be it for sending messages, cracking high security internet zones, communicating or for triggering IED. It also gathered information on how operators use steganography, cryptography, encryption and voice over Internet protocol to share vital information on developments, planning and execution.

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