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SIMI now Indian Mujahideen?

SIMI now Indian Mujahideen?

Author: Pradeep Thakur
Publication: The Times of India
Date: July 28, 2008
URL: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Is_it_SIMI_in_garb_of_Indian_Mujahideen_/rssarticleshow/3292321.cms

With the Indian Mujahideen claiming responsibility for the Ahmedabad blasts - its third "success" after the UP court blasts and the Jaipur mayhem - questions are being asked about its pedigree.

Sleuths are wondering whether it is the proscribed Student Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) or a loose coalition of Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed, masquerading under a new name.

"There is a strong possibility that it could be SIMI," said B Raman, a former additional secretary with RAW.

The three strikes claimed by IM reveal the same objective and modus operandi as that of SIMI, he added. Raman, however, doesn't rule out the existence of a homegrown outfit which had so far managed to skip the radar of the intelligence agencies.

"There may be some elements that did not come to notice in the past," he said.

Intelligence officials also don't discount the possibility of Al-Umma, a TN-based outfit that was behind the 1998 Coimbatore blasts, and SIMI forming a pool of dedicated, homegrown terrorists. Al-Umma, also known to have a presence in Bangalore, shares the ideology of SIMI.

The serial blasts in UP courts raised suspicion that IM was nothing but a loose coalition of LeT and JeM that had intimidated the legal fraternity for the lawyers' unwillingness to represent terror suspects.

However, when serial blasts rocked Jaipur, the sheer scale of the operation hinted at the involvement of local elements that could only be provided by radical outfits like SIMI which has a presence in many states, including Rajasthan.

The outfit behind the Ahmedabad blasts could be the same as that responsible for the Jaipur strikes. But in both Jaipur and Ahmedabad, the serial blasts indicated that the terrorists were local elements who knew the place and easily mingled with the crowd after execution of the deadly act.

"This is a bid to Indianise jihad," said Raman who sees HuJI opening a permanent base in India.

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