Tuesday, July 11, 2006

More on events in India

India's intelligence service focuses on following, as from the Times of India:
NEW DELHI: The terror attack on Mumbai trains was carried out by Lashkar-e-Toiba and local Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) activists and was designed to trigger communal conflagration in the country’s financial capital, intelligence sources said.

While still waiting for clues to emerge, top intelligence sources in New Delhi seem pretty sure the blasts on the trains were plotted by Lashkar modules which are increasingly collaborating with activists of SIMI, which boasts of strong pockets of influence across Maharashtra.

The estimate of intelligence agencies here is derived from the scale of the attack, as well as precise information about the Lashkar’s sleeper cells that have proliferated in Maharashtra.

Sources in the home ministry, in fact, said that a carnage had seemed very much on the cards with information pouring in about stockpiling of arms and explosives by religious extremists.
The Times of London:
Muslim militants fighting against Indian control in Kashmir are the prime suspects for the bloody terrorist bombings on trains carrying rush-hour commuters in Bombay.

Dozens of groups, mostly based in neighbouring Pakistan, have been responsible for a string of attacks against targets in India over the past decade with two organisations, Lashkar-e-Toiba (Soldiers of the Pure) and Jaish-e-Mohammad (Army of Mohammad), regarded as the most effective and deadly.

Although there were no immediate claims of responsibility for today's bombings, Western intelligence experts had been anticipating a new wave of attacks in India by militants.
The Guardian's summary:
The blasts came just hours after suspected Islamist militants killed seven people, six of them tourists, in a series of grenade attacks in Indian Kashmir's main city, Srinagar, police said, the most concerted targeting of civilians in months.

Kashmir is split between Pakistan and India but both countries claim the entire province, and the two states have fought three wars over the territory since independence. India claims that Pakistan covertly supports Kashmir-based terrorist groups such as Lashkar-e-Toiba, which is accused of carrying out the 2001 attacks on the Indian parliament.

However, India's home secretary VK Duggal said there was no connection between the Srinagar and Mumbai blasts and Lashkar-e-Toiba denied involvement in the attacks, NKTV television reported.
Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for Madrid the day after the attack. This attack is chillingly similar to that one. However, Lashkar-e-Toiba is very deadly. More on that group from the BBC:
Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf banned Lashkar-e-Toiba, along with four other Islamic groups, in January 2002 amid pressure that followed the 11 September attacks in the US.

Until then Lashkar, with its reputation for being purely focused on fighting India in Kashmir, was able to operate openly inside Pakistan, raising funds and recruiting members.

Almost every shop in the main bazaar of every town, large or small, in Pakistan had a Lashkar collection box to raise funds for the struggle in Kashmir.

Laskhar had no involvement in sectarian attacks in Pakistan and its leaders were often critical of other militant groups operating in Kashmir and Afghanistan who also took part in the sectarian Sunni-Shia bloodshed within Pakistan.

Problems arose, however, when some breakaway Lashkar members began to disagree with President Musharraf's strategy post 9/11 and were blamed for anti-government attacks in Pakistan.

In the months after 9/11, breakaway factions of militant groups started to come together under a loose anti-US banner.


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