The death of Iqbal Mirchi in London, ostensibly due to heart failure, and the subsequent arrest of Abdul Karim Tunda, the top terror suspect and Lashkar-e-Toiba’s ‘bomb expert’ clearly hint at a door cracking open in the insurmountable wall that terrorism in India had become in the last two decades. With a slew of dastardly attacks on Indian soil under their kitty, both Tunda and Mirchi have been linked the kingpin of terrorism carried out within the Indian territory, Dawood Ibrahim, and the apprehension of Tunda sounds a warning bell to the notorious underworld don of times to come. This a commendable development, not only in terms of combating terror and other acts of violence perpetrated by the jihadists in the name of religion, but also, the arrest of Tunda bespeaks the welcome truth that the intelligence agencies have finally seen light at the end of the dark tunnel that has been mujahideen terror in this country as well as the rest of the world. Nabbing the septuagenarian Tunda, who was wanted in 33 criminal cases and linked to over 40 cases of bomb blasts in the country is, evidently, a formidable step in unraveling the tangled strings of terrorism, as already the 1943-born, Delhi-origin ‘Hakimji’ has divulged details during his custodial investigation, revealing the long-held conjectures by the Indian intelligence bodies that Dawood Ibrahim has been enjoying the protection of Pakistan’s ISI for years now. Moreover, the LeT bomb expert, who is wanted for the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts that killed 257 people and injured over 700, has also revealed that it is Zakir-ur Rahman Lakhvi, who calls the shots in the banned terrorist outfit, and that he was in ‘regular touch’ with both Dawood Ibrahim and the Jamat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz saeed, the alleged mastermind of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.
Clearly, the police operation that yielded Tunda establishes some clear lines. First of all, once again it is beyond a straw of doubt that Pakistan’s rogue Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has been engineering unrest and violence with infiltrators and jihadi recruits all over the Indian soil, with terror camps in various vulnerable nodal regions close to the highly porous national border. Secondly, Delhi police holds that Tunda is a bigger catch than Abu Jundal, because the former has ‘in-depth knowledge’ of the terror networks spanning across Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh, and has been recruiting men from Bangladeshi territory to infiltrate into Indian soil. Thus the many-headed hydra that was born in the wake of Babri Masjid demolition in 1992, laying the foundation of the Indian jihadist networks, has been struck in its head, as the carefully crafted operation involving India’s Research and analysid Wing as well as intelligence bodies in the Middle East has managed to handcuff one of the key architects of terror in India. Tunda, who transformed from a hands-on terror operative to a formidable mentor to the fresh recruits, is a valuable link in the extensive circuits of jihad that has spread its influence across the fanatic sections of the South Asian diaspora. His interrogation should lead to strategic inputs into the current and future operations of these ‘axes of evil’, as it were, and the names, that would be thereby revealed, whether politicians, bureaucrats, corporate or military personnel must be brought to book with immediate effect.