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2 Terror 'outsourced' in
India By Siddharth Srivastava
NEW DELHI - Investigations into recent
terror attacks in India point to a new strategy
being used by terror groups: the last leg of the
attacks is being "outsourced" to local hands who
use crudely assembled bombs - improvised explosive
devices - that are difficult to trace and aimed at
soft targets that inflict maximum shrapnel damage
to victims packed in a small space.
Whether it is the recent attack on the
Samjhauta Express (killing close to 70 people) or
the serial Mumbai train blasts last July
(killing almost 200), temple
attacks in Benaras last March (killing more than
30), or the Diwali attacks in New Delhi (in
October 2005, killing more than 70), police
officials say that the modus operandi has
been the same.
This makes the task of
investigators difficult, as the moment terror is
inflicted, the "masterminds" snap all connections
and are very hard to trace.
several indications of local hands being
employed," said a senior official in the Indian
Intelligence Bureau, who did not want to be
identified. "I use the word 'employed' as it is
so. The attackers are paid a handsome sum of money
as well as ensured that he/she need not die in the
process of the attack. It is a win-win situation.
"In the past, diehard Afghan mercenaries
or trained Pakistani nationals orchestrated the
attacks by infiltrating from across the border.
Now there has been a shift in the strategy," the
From the point of view of
terror cells, they can follow a "hands off"
approach as there is no need to invest in
personnel who are driven to die for the jihadist
cause. There is also the tricky matter of
infiltration, including of weapons, into India
given the implementation of border fencing and a
strict vigil. Now, only the money has to be
arranged, while the bombs can be easily assembled
These are not the tactics used in
earlier attacks such as the attempt to storm the
Indian Parliament Building (December 2001), in
which fidayeen (suicide) bombers were
involved. Such was also the case in the Akshardham
Temple storming in Gujarat in September 2002,
killing close to 40 people and injuring more than
80 Hindus, widely seen as a reaction to the
Gujarat riots in which thousands of Muslims were
killed. Assault rifles, sophisticated weapons
including rocket launchers, and RDX explosive were
used in these attacks.
Then there was the
bold attempt to storm the Ram Temple at Ayodya
that was thwarted by alert security personnel.
Innumerable strikes continue in Indian Kashmir,
while terrorists have also struck at the Indian
Institute of Science Bangalore. One can also look
back at the extremely well-coordinated bomb blasts
in commercial centers of Mumbai in 1993 in which
more than 260 people were killed.
these attacks, the evidence linking them to the
dreaded Lashkar-e-Toiba (based in Pakistan) was
handed to Washington as well as Islamabad and is
considered to be one of the vital factors that
drove the US to take a tough stance against
Pakistan. In these instances the Indian
investigators were able to draw a clear link with
the "sources'', as the attackers formed part of a
well-oiled machine and left vital clues such as
mobile-telephone records, computers and e-mails.
The vicious links of LeT, known to be violently
anti-Shi'ite, were exposed. Indian security forces
continue to bust several LeT operatives in the
The "terrorist as freedom
fighter" argument used even by Pakistani President
General Pervez Musharraf in several international
forums was thus completely debunked.
However, in the later attacks such as in
Mumbai, Delhi, Benaras and now Samjhauta,
investigators admit that a "dead end" has been
reached, despite several witness accounts of the
Security agencies say that
local Indian Muslims or even the involvement of
Hindus cannot be ruled out, since in a poor