Friday, August 6, 2010



Some curious and intriguing aspects of the recent allegations of our investigating agencies against some Hindus of involvement in acts of terrorism against Muslims need to be highlighted.

2. The first relates to the incendiary explosion in the Samjauta Express. The second relates to the explosions in the Mecca Masjid of Hyderabad. The "Hindu" of July 31,2010, reported as follows: " The National Investigation Agency's probe into the Samjauta Express blasts will cover links with the explosions in Malegaon, Ajmer Sharif and the Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad, Home Minister P.Chidambaram said here on Friday ( July 30).... Asked about Hindutva organisations being suspects in the Samjauta and other three blasts, he declined to speculate."If we could do that, why would we hand it over to the NIA? Since the Haryana Police has not been able to crack the case, with their consent, the case has been handed over to the NIA."..... The CPI (M) has opposed separate investigations and called for a co-ordinated probe. It also alleged that three persons arrested for the Ajmer Sharif dargah blast (2007) were linked to the Abhinav Bharat organisation, which is said to be behind the Malegaon blast (2008). Their involvement is also suspected in the Mecca Masjid blast (2007) as the SIM card found in Ajmer belonged to the same batch used to trigger the Hyderabad blast."

3.In a press note issued on July 1, 2009, the US Department of Treasury gave the personal particulars of four persons--- a Pashtun born in Afghanistan, two Punjabis and a fourth person of unclear ethnicity originating from Karachi----associated with the Lashkare-Toiba (LET), who were designated by the Department under Executive Order 13224 “as providing direct support to Al Qaeda and the LET and as facilitating terrorist attacks, including the July 2006 train bombing in Mumbai.”

4. One Arif Qasmani of Karachi was specifically named by the Department as involed in the Mumbai suburban train blasts of July, 2006, and in the Samjautha Express blast of February, 2007. It said of him as follows: "Arif Qasmani is the chief coordinator for Lashkar-e Tayyiba's (LET) dealings with outside organizations and has provided significant support for LET terrorist operations. Qasmani has worked with LET to facilitate terrorist attacks, including the July 2006 train bombing in Mumbai, India, and the February 2007 Samjota Express bombing in Panipat, India. Qasmani conducted fundraising activities on behalf of LET in 2005 and utilized money that he received from Dawood Ibrahim, an Indian crime figure and terrorist supporter, to facilitate the July 2006 train bombing in Mumbai, India. Since 2001, Arif Qasmani has also provided financial and other support and services to al Qaida, including facilitating the movement of al Qaida leaders and personnel in and out of Afghanistan, the return of foreign fighters to their respective countries, and the provision of supplies and weapons. In return for Qasmani's support, al Qaida provided Qasmani with operatives to support the July 2006 train bombing in Mumbai, India, and the February 2007 Samjota Express bombing in Panipat, India. In 2005, Qasmani provided Taliban leaders with a safe haven and a means to smuggle personnel, equipment, and weapons into Afghanistan." ( )

5.Allegations have been made in India that some Hindus, who were arrested for their suspected involvement in the Ajmer Sharif blast, are also suspected of involvement in the Mecca Masjid blast of Hyderabad. On August 6,2010, the US State Department made public notifications designating the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI) of Pakistan as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation and Ilyas Kashmiri belonging to it as an international terrorist. Similar action has been taken on US advice by the anti-terrorism sanctions committee of the UN Security Council the same day.

6. Reporting on these notifications, Mr.Peter Fowler, an American journalist, says as follows: "HUJI has carried out a number of terrorist attacks. In March 2006, HUJI was responsible for the suicide bombing of the U.S. Consulate in Karachi, Pakistan, which killed four people and injured 48 others. HUJI is also responsible for terrorist attacks in India including the May 2007 Hyderabad mosque attack, which killed 16 and injured 40, and the March 2007 Varanasi attack, which killed 25 and injured 100." ( )

7. Thus, according to American investigators the LET and Al Qaeda were responsible for the Samjauta Express blast and the HUJI for the Mecca Masjid blast.If the American investigators, who have better sources in Pakistan, are correct, how can our investigators claim that some arrested Hindus were responsible for these incidents? Justice and fairplay demand a thorough investigation into the two different versions that have emerged from Indian and American investigators. While the American investigators have blamed the LET, Al Qaeda and the HUJI, Indian investigators have blamed the Abhinav Bharat. Both cannot be correct. ( 7-8-2010)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: )




“The enormous publicity, which the LET (Lashkar-e-Toiba) got for its sea-borne attack in Mumbai (on 26/11,2008), demonstrated the propaganda value of sea-borne attacks, where the surprise element is more. It is to be expected that not only Al Qaeda, but also other Al Qaeda allied elements such as those of the Jemmah Islamiyah and the Yemeni and Somali members of Al Qaeda might once again be tempted to think in terms of acts of maritime terrorism to prove that their capabilities are intact.”

----------- From my article of March 5,2010, titled “Fresh Fears of Maritime Terrorism “ at

There was a maritime incident of unexplained origin involving a Japanese supertanker named “M.Star” near the Strait of Hormuz on July 28,2010. The M Star, which is owned by the Mitsui OSK Lines, was on its way to the port of Chiba, near Tokyo. One crew member was slightly injured. But the tanker, which was loaded with 270,204 tonnes of oil, was able to continue under its own power to a port in the United Arab Emirates, where investigations were being conducted. News agency reports quoted Japanese officials as saying that an explosion had occurred in the rear starboard area of the ship, and that it was possible that the damage had been caused by an attack from outside. According to the Reuters news agency, the incident left the hull caved in on one side, blew off a lifeboat and smashed windows and doors.

2. However, Mr. Ataollah Sadr, Managing Director of the Iranian Navigation and Ports Organization, was quoted by the semi-official Mehr news agency of Iran as ruling out the possibility of a terrorist attack. He said: "Due to the presence of some inflammable steams and gases on the oil tankers, the possibility of a blast cannot be ruled out. Based on the dialogues and messages heard from the Maritime Rescue Coordination Center (MRCC), there has been news about a quake occurrence. The captains of the ships which were in the area have not ruled out the possibility of an earthquake. Now, the flame has been contained in the tanker and it is moving towards one of the ports in the littoral states of the Persian Gulf. Till now no comprehensive information has been received about the incident. We will announce the details upon receiving the authentic news."

3.Mr.Ali Akbar Saffai, the head of the marine department of Iran's southern province of Hormozgan, said that the incident took place in "Oman's trivial waters," rejecting earlier reports that the incident had occurred in the Strait of Hormuz. According to him, the explosion occurred when the ship was sailing in Oman waters in the western part of the strait.

4.The Chinese Xinhua news agency quoted Mr.Kenji Yoshimura of the Mitsui OSK Lines, as saying that the explosion did not lead to an oil leakage. According to him, the tanker was heading toward Japan after loading crude oil in the port of Das Island in Abu Dhabi when the blast took place.

5. Till August 3,2010, the incident was treated by analysts as probably an accident of unexplained origin and not as a terrorist attack. However, on August 3, a group calling itself the Abdullah Azzam Brigades posted a statement and a photo on an Islamist ( Al Faloja) website known to be used by pro-Al Qaeda terrorists. The statement said as follows: “Last Wednesday, after midnight, the martyrdom-seeking hero Ayyub al-Taishan blew himself up in the Japanese tanker M.Star in the Strait of Hormuz between the United Arab Emirates and Oman.”

6. The photo posted on the web site was of the alleged suicide bomber (al- Taishan) dressed in an Arab-style white robe and cap, pointing at a picture of a supertanker on a videoscreen. The group claimed the attack was meant to be a blow to the global economy and the oil market and that those who have offered other explanations for the incident are trying to cover up the incident.

7. It would be difficult to comment on the veracity of the claim made in the message till the damage suffered by the supertanker had been examined by experts. If it was an act of suicide terrorism as claimed, the suicide terrorist might have come in a boast filled with explosives and rammed against the tanker. Examination of the point of impact would indicate whether there had been ramming and whether explosives had been used.It is not clear why the organization waited for six days after the incident before it made the claim.

8. In 2005, an organization calling itself the Abdullah Azzam Brigades had claimed responsibility for a terrorist attack at the Egyptian resort of Sharm al-Sheikh and for two unsuccessful rocket firings against two US warships in Jordan’s Aqaba port. The authenticity of the claims could not be established. It was presumed that a group of Egyptian terrorists must be operating under this name. This group had not come to notice earlier for having a capability for an act of maritime terrorism involving the ramming of a suicide boat against a ship or a tanker, but its unsuccessful firing of rockets against the two US ships in 2005 showed a capability for rocket attacks from a distance. But the organisation which claims to have attacked the Japanese tanker has projected it as an act of suicide terrorism. This would rule out the use of rockets.

9.Presuming that it was a planned attack on the tanker, one has to keep in view the possibility that pro-Al Qaeda terrorists from its branches in Yemen or Somalia might have been involved. It is going to be difficult to establish this. There is no reason to believe that the Japanese were specifically targeted. The perpetrators wanted to attack a tanker and the Japanese tanker came their way. Dangers of sporadic or opportunistic acts of maritime terrorism persist. (6-8-10)

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-Mail: )