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Camping in Karnataka

Camping in Karnataka

Author: Editorial
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: February 4, 2008

Islamists have a field day

Islamist terror, spreading its tentacles steadily across India, had crossed the Vindhyas some years ago. Now it seems deeply entrenched in Karnataka. It is disquieting but not surprising that a jihadi terrorist training camp has been detected right under the nose of the authorities, and for the first time, in southern India. The interrogation of three arrested Islamist radicals and subsequent investigations which have unearthed a thick forest area flanking Dharwad and Uttara Kannada districts of Karnataka being used for nefarious purposes, has revealed much more than the existence of terrorists in this part of the country. It has partly explained the phenomenon that could well have turned local doctors into the Glasgow bombers; one of the arrested jihadis, Mohammed Asif, is an MBBS student. The woods, surrounded by religious shrines, had been serving as training camps of Islamist recruits, teaching them how to use firearms. Most obnoxiously, Pakistani flags have been found fluttering mockingly at the camp whose existence has sinister implications, indicating that the terrorist network in southern India is much wider and better organised than what was so far believed. It's now understood that the recent spate of terrorist attacks in southern India -- from the shooting at Bangalore's Indian Institute of Science to Hyderabad's Mecca Masjid blasts -- were no flashes in the pan. These have all been part of a concerted plan by groups such as Lashkar-e-Tayyeba to extend terrorism's scary hold on more and more parts of the country and inflict increasing injury to the Indian state. Bangalore has, in particular, been a target for long, with Islamist terrorists' indefatigable efforts to build capabilities out of this city as part of attempts to build bases in southern India.

Though Islamist terrorists did not find much initial success in the south for want of enough recruits, they have been resilient and finally been able to vitiate and motivate the minds of many in the local population to execute their nefarious plans. The exposed training grounds are indicative of a natural progression whereby the various terrorist outfits, networked with Pakistan -- prime suspect Mohammed Ghouse worked for a terror outfit in Pakistan -- have been expanding their activities. That they have been allowed to establish a base in Kalghatgi speaks volumes of the apathy India's security issues have received from authority although the Prime Minister does tend to lose his sleep when potential jihadis are picked up. It is surprising that each time the issue of Islamist terrorism in southern India is raised, it is swept under the carpet as if the problem does not exist. The latest revelations have come as a wake-up call. If the Centre and the State Government continue to sleep, India will have to bear the cost of their monumental folly.

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