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Portrait of a bomb maker

 Nitish K Singh |  2013-09-01 18:39:19.0  |  New Delhi

Abdul Karim Tunda is called a bomb expert. He earned the nickname ‘Tunda’ after his left hand was blown off in a bomb-making accident.
Age:  70 years
Wanted in cases: Suspected to be involved in at least 40 bomb blast cases in India. Security agencies believe his involvement in blasts in many north Indian cities, including New Delhi, Kanpur, Varanasi. Police has said Tunda is wanted in 21 cases in Delhi alone, committed in 1994 and in 1996-1998. Wanted for his role in the 1993 Mumbai serial train blasts, Delhi bomb blasts of 1997-98 and serial bombings in UP and also at Panipat, Sonepat, Ludhiana and Hyderabad.

Tunda’s associates in sponsoring terrorism in India: Dawood Ibrahim, the fugitive don and mastermind of Mumbai serial blasts, believed to be in Karachi with the help of state actors of Pakistan, though the neighbouring state has constantly denied his presence in the country. Other associates include Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed, Laskhar-e-Taiba chief Zaki ur Rehman Lakhvi, Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Maulana Masood Azhar, Pakistan’s rogue intelligence agency ISI and Pakistan Army.

Tunda’s role: Recruiting jihadists for spreading terrorism in India. Tunda is believed to have trained young indoctrinated youths in preparing bombs with locally available materials like urea, nitric acid, potassium chloride, nitrobenzene and sugar, and planting them at crowded places to cause maximum casualties. According to officials, Tunda had played a vital role in the conspiracy behind various blasts across India. Tunda was providing logistic supports to terrorists who were executing blasts in north India.
Hideouts: Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal; a number of rumours were spread about him, including his death during the 20-year period that he was busy helping anti-India elements
Current Status: Apart from interrogating Tunda, security agencies are collecting FIRs lodged against Tunda in various states of the country so that he can be tried in these cases
How big a terrorist is he: His name featured on the list of 20 wanted terrorists that had been forwarded by India to Pakistan after the 26/11 Mumbai  attacks. Other names on the list included Dawood Ibrahim, Hafeez Saeed and Maulana Masood Azhar. Abdul Karim Tunda’s name has been on the radar of Indian security and intelligence agencies for decades. They had clear knowledge about his involvement in a number of terror cases in India, carried out on the directions of anti-India forces operating from Pakistan. India had even, in its list of 20 terrorists given to Pakistan, asked its neighbor to hand him over after the Mumbai terror attacks.

After evading arrest for years, Tunda was arrested by Delhi police from the Indo-Nepal border and brought to Delhi. He was first remanded to three-days of police custody, followed by four-day police custody by the court to interrogate him in connection with 37 bomb blast cases across the country. At the time of arrest, he had been carrying a Pakistani passport (No AC 4413161) issued on 23 January, 2013 in the name of Abdul Quddus.

Investigators have not been disappointed so far with Tunda’s interrogation and he has proved to be an encyclopedia on the state players in Pakistan. He has provided information about the Lashkar-e-Taiba, Hafiz Saeed, Pakistan army and the ISI’s role in sponsoring and spreading terrorism in India. He has told investigators that Zaki ur Rehman Lakhvi, a long-standing Lashkar-e-Taiba commander manages the affairs of  the LeT from a Rawalpindi prison. He has spoken of Babbar Khalsa International’s plan to carry out blasts in India and identified two Pakistan Army majors and some other ISI officials who had been in touch with him to push fake currencies in India. He has also talked about meeting LeT boss Hafiz Saeed earlier this year. During the meeting, Saeed reportedly asked him to diversify the LeT network in India. He has revealed that Dawood Ibrahim is holed up in Karachi with the whole ISI paraphernalia. The significance of his arrest for Indian agencies can be gauged from the fact that Delhi police received a pat on its back from the country’s top  administration because of his arrest.

His joint interrogation has clearly established the role of Pakistan’s state actors in spreading terrorism in India. He has also exposed Pakistan’s blatant lies about Dawood Ibrahim, Hafeez Saeed and Lakhvi. Investigators believe they have a solid case against Tunda and have evidence against him to get him punished for his role in terror attacks in India. Tunda, who has evolved from being a hands-on terror operative to a key mentor, fund-raiser and recruiter among jihadists in the past 20 years, has told investigators that he used to meet Dawood Ibrahim frequently and had helped Hafiz Saeed meet the don in Karachi. He has thrown detailed light on how Dawood Ibrahim, LeT’s Lakhvi and Hafeez Saeed are secretly getting support from the Pakistan Army and Pakistan’s rogue intelligence agency, the ISI.

Born in 1943 to a lower middle-class family in Delhi, Tunda moved to Pilkhuwa, near Ghaziabad, in his teens. He then shifted base to Mumbai, where he set up a small dyeing business. Later he started following the principles of Jami’at Ahl-e-Hadis, that’s also followed by the LeT. Tunda worked as a carpenter, scrap dealer and cloth merchant till he attained the age of 40 years before becoming a radical jihadi militant. Tunda had run many madrassas in Bangladesh and Pakistan where he indoctrinated Muslim youths for jihad as a religious duty of Muslims.

Tunda is currently in judicial custody and admitted in All India Institute of Medical Sciences after complaining of chest problems. He has provided crucial information on everything that the Indian agencies had been looking for in the past many years – from terrorism to fake currency notes, Dawood Ibrahim to Hafiz Saeed to Zaik ur Rehman Lakhvi to Maulana Masood Azhar to the role of ISI and Pakistan Army in encouraging terror strikes against India. In the light of his startling revelations, the important question now is can India use this information to get Pakistan to act? Can India use this information to get Dawood Ibrahim, Maulana Masood Azhar and Hafeez Saeed? Only time will tell.

Nitish K Singh

Nitish K Singh

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