(November 21, Mumbai, Sri Lanka Guardian) The Maharashtra and Mumbai police have received an alarming alert from the Intelligence Bureau (IB) warning them of possible presence of sleeper cells and militants of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in and around Mumbai, especially in the Navi Mumbai area. The warning is part of a confidential report which states that the Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) is using LTTE cadre and Sikh militants to infiltrate into India to carry out terror activities.
The alert, which came earlier this month, warns the police about specific footprints of LTTE cadre observed in Navi Mumbai. “Currently, it seems to be a sleeper cell, but their activities and movements have increased in the past couple of months,” said a central intelligence officer on condition of anonymity. Based on the information the security agencies concerned have been alerted, the officer said.
The alert assumes significance because in the same confidential report, the IB also warned security agencies to keep a close watch on Sikh militants as well. “There is source-based information that militants and activists from the LTTE and Sikh militant groups are being infiltrated into the country by the LeT,” the officer said. According to the police, the link between the LeT-LTTE and LeT-Babbar Khalsa is not new and their association is an open secret.
However, the incident in Ambala, where a Tata Indica car laden with explosives on its way to New Delhi was intercepted, has indicated that they have become active. “It was after the Ambala incident that security agencies started keeping a close watch on the activities of BKI and LTTE. It was revealed during this close surveillance that that there has been a substantial increase in the activities of suspects from the two outfits,” the officer said.
A senior official from Maharashtra police confirmed that they have received an alert from the IB and adequate steps are being taken to keep a close watch on the suspects and their activities. According to experts, LeT using LTTE and BKI is a new trend and this has happened because of the inability of the Indian Mujahideen (IM) to make any effective in-roads in the country. “After the IM media cell was busted and a few of their important functionaries identified by Indian security agencies, it has become difficult for the IM to function without risk,” said a senior Mumbai police officer.
Key IM functionaries, including founder-member Riyaz Bhatkal, his brother Riyaz and Amir Raza, have been grounded in Pakistan because of the danger of being nabbed. “IM was using the ground network and sleeper cells of SIMI. But most cells have been busted or are under constant surveillance, making it difficult for them to function,” the officer said.
“Another key operative, Abdus Subhan Qureshi alias Tauqeer, recently had a close shave when Indian sleuths almost nabbed him. Such incidents have dented the image of the IM and now, LeT and ISI are looking for other options,” the officer said.
Source: DNA, Nikhil S Dixit