While fragile peace returns to Muzaffarnagar district, there is rippling out of the communal tension. The recovery of 41 cartridges of AK-47 rifle from Kirthal village in Baghpat district by Uttar Pradesh Police has received insufficient coverage. The person in whose house the arsenal was stored has not been identified by the media. It is true that in communal riots, the convention is to withhold the identity of the perpetrators. But sometimes disclosure becomes necessary to dispel the dubious political discourse around it. TheDainik Jagran (Baghpat edition) has identified the person as Rozuddin. The intelligence agencies were on alert when news of arms inventory surfaced following communal standoff in Kirthal the previous night. There were stone pelting when the Police raided Rozuddin’s house in a communally divided village. A constable Vijay Kumar has received head injuries. It means Muslims were not exactly sitting ducks in the riots as some portray.
Raid was prematurely called off: No AK-47 could be recovered is no reason for worrying less. It might mean the assault weapons are still beyond law enforcing agency’s reach. What was more scandalous was the raid was called off in the middle. According to the sources, there were instructions from above. The origin of those cartridges befuddled the Police. Rozuddin’s claim that they were brought by his relative who works in Border Security Force (BSF) appears is a lame excuse. Firstly, nobody in Rozuddin’s family works in the BSF. Additionally, it is illegal for serving personnel to carry their arms and ammunition home. It could result in Court Martial, being perceived as an attempt to wage war against the State.
ISI in western UP: The politicians and media are trying to paper over the granular realities of the Western Uttar Pradesh. There have been attempts to attribute the riots to RSS and BJP who allegedly vitiated the communal atmosphere. But there has been zero discussion on ISI’s role in the Western Uttar Pradesh. It is no secret that Pakistan’s Inter Service Intelligence has a credible presence in Western Uttar Pradesh. The region’s connection with ISI resurfaced last month when a most wanted terrorist Abdul Karim alias Tunda, a native of Hapur, was arrested by the Delhi Police. A report in The Statesman (August 18, 2013) by Chandan Prakash Singh highlights the importance of western UP to the ISI. The involvement of the ISI could not be ruled out in purveying of arms and ammunition to a particular community in the western UP.
Srikanta Ghosh, in his book Pakistan’s ISI: Network of Terror (2000) cites, ISI’s prospects received a big push in the Uttar Pradesh following the demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992. It could play upon the hurt psyche of the Muslims in the Urdu heartland. Within two years, at least five districts of the State viz Aligarh, Ghaziabad, Meerut, Saharanpur and Moradabad had been infiltrated. Notably, all these five districts – with large concentration of Muslim population- are in the western Uttar Pradesh.
ISI’s action plan in western UP: DP Sharma, in his book The New Terrorism: Islamist International, (2006) also attributes Muzaffarnagar district to the list where ISI is most active. He says that in these districts Muslims are working as PCO owners, travel agents and transporters. As per intelligence reports, ISI organises meetings of Muslims in these areas to create circumstances, which leads to communal rift. After the Gujarat riots, ISI agents fanned out in western Uttar Pradesh, asking madrasa heads to admit more students from Gujarat who could be later trained as Mujahideen. Farhan Ahmed, who was arrested by Delhi Police on August 23, 2002 had informed during investigation that he enrolled 33 students from Gujarat, from relief camps of Ahmedabad, in various madrasas of Moradabad under this plan.
In January, 2010, Nasir, a resident of Kabari Bazar area of Meerut, was arrested by ATS. He was in possession of highly confidential information on military movements, army codes, numbers of ISI officials across the border, along with postal and e-mail addresses of those who were being sent classified information from India. During interrogation, Nasir revealed that he along with his mother, sister and cousin Muqeem of Najibabad had gone to visit their relatives in Lahore, Pakistan in June 2009. It might also be noted that due to involvement of this region in Pakistan movement, many western UP Muslims have relatives in Pakistan.
On August 13, 2008, ATS had arrested a Pakistani spy from Bahraich and an operative of Jamiat-Ul-Mujahideen from Ghaziabad in simultaneous raids. The Pakistani spy Mohammed Masroor alias Manzoor Ansari has established himself at Lucknow and working in a business house Lalbagh. Though of late, an eastern UP district viz Azamgarh has gained notoriety for terror connections, the western UP continues to be a dependable hub of the ISI. The instances can be multiplied. But why are politicians with vested interests ignoring this aspect in built up to Muzaffarnagar violence? Why shouldn’t there be discussion on ISI’s role in vitiating the communal atmosphere in the western Uttar Pradesh?