ISI spreads a net in Northeast India
The land of armed movements sustained by the anti-New
The Northeastern region is no stranger to banned armed groups and their destructive activities, but the recent development where it has emerged that the Pakistani agency has engaged scores of its operatives in the region and also sponsored a number of indigenous armed groups has come as a shocking revelation.
But unfortunately for the people of Northeast, a most influential armed group of
But what is appalling for the people of the region is that not less than 20 native militia groups have come closer to ISI. It was disclosed during the interrogation of an ISI operative, who was arrested by the
The police said that Alam was a member of Jamat-e-Islami and Chatra Shibir of
The Indian police have time to time claimed that ISI was involved in many explosions in the country. The Mumbai police asserted that it had enough proof of ISI involvement in the July 2006 blast in a local train. The ISI is also blamed for masterminding explosions in many other cities of the country including
This reporter tried to contact the officers of the Inter Services Public Relations, Pakistan Armed Forces, of which ISI is an unit, for their reactions regarding the arrest of Alam in
Dr M. Amarjeet Singh, a research scholar at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses,
The Indian security agencies have already gathered evidence to establish that the ISI had been sponsoring violence in many parts of the country. The ISI takes responsibility of supplying sophisticated arms and also guerrilla training to several militant groups based in the Northeast.
Brig. (retired) Dr S.P. Sinha, who served Northeast for many decades, claimed that the ISI had now formed a new base in
His comment is supplemented by a senior Bangladeshi journalist. "The Pakistani intelligence agency (ISI) has been actively operating in
The journalist, who sought anonymity added, "Personally I believe, these Pakistani Army officials are not retired personnel. They might be important officials of the ISI. My information is a huge amount of profit of those companies goes to the hidden activities of the agency. I suspect, the ISI has a significant amount of shares in those companies (including one mobile phone service provider) working in
"A few companies owned by foreign nationals have emerged as a major base for the ISI in
The links of Northeastern militants with the ISI found space for discussion in the Parliament too." Available inputs indicate that some Indian insurgent groups active in the northeastern region have been using the territory of Bangladesh, and have links with Pakistan's ISI," Shriprakash Jaiswal, the Minister of state for Home, informed Rajya Sabha on December 5. The Minister, while admitting reports of alliances among the outfits for tactical purposes of shelter, hideouts, procurement of arms, also added that
Weeks ago, a reputed
The report also added that ‘though
Critical concern on ISI's active involvement in Northeast has already been expressed in the mainstream media. The Assam Tribune, the oldest English daily of the region in an editorial said, "It is a fact that presence of foreign nationals gave a chance to the ISI agents and other fundamentalist forces having roots in Bangladesh to establish their bases not only in Assam but also in other states of the Northeast, which has posed a grave security threat to the nation." Quoting the revelation of the ISI operative, the editorial also argued that it ‘highlights the gravity of the situation as the Pakistani agency can always engage the militant outfits having links with it to create disturbance in this part of the country without sending its own men to do such dirty work'.
"All the security agencies involved in the counter-insurgency operations must launch a coordinated effort to prevent the ISI and other fundamentalist forces inimical to India from establishing roots in the East, while at the same time coordination and intelligence sharing between the police forces of the Northeastern states must be improved to deal with the security threat. On its part, the Government of India must take all possible steps to complete the border roads and fencing along the Indo-Bangla border and the strength of the Border Security Force should be increased along the international border," it added.
Shri J.P. Rajkhowa, a bureaucrat turned media columnist, while quoting intelligence reports, stated that over 20 jehadi groups including Muslim Tiger Force of Assam, Muslim United Liberation Force of Assam, Muslim United Liberation Army, United Muslim Front of Assam, United Islamic Reformation Movement of India, Muslim Security Force, United Liberation Militia of Assam, Muslim Security Council of Assam, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, Harkat-ul-Jehad-e-Islami, People's United Liberation Front, Revolutionary Muslim Commandos, Jamat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh, Students' Islamic Movement of India, Laskar-e-Taiba, etc. are active in the region. "All these groups want to carve out an Islamic state of
"We have had occasion in the past to hammer the fact that both the ISI and the fundamentalist and terrorist organisations based in Bangladesh have taken a solemn vow to create a greater Islamic state in the subcontinent by including in it Assam and other suitable areas of the Northeast," said an editorial of The Sentinel, another important English daily of Northeast.
"So why does not the State Government (of Assam) wake up to the reality, admit to having provided an opportunity to the ISI-jehadis combine to freely operate in the State" the editorial asked. It concluded with criticism of Tarun Gogoi and his Congress party-led cabinet as the government intelligence agencies were outsmarted by the ISI, and asserted that "an arrest or two will just not do. The government must be able to break the whole ISI network in the State."