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The terror messages in email

By Kashif-ul-Huda, TwoCircles.net

Recent terror strikes in Bangalore and Ahmedabad point to the fact that these anti-terrorism conferences, fatwas and community efforts are not working. One reason could be that a vast majority of Muslims of India are not convinced that the terrorists could be one of them. It is not a denial by Indian Muslim’s but a failure on the part of the investigating agencies to produce a convincing proof of who is behind these terror acts. The emails sent by the group calling itself “Indian Mujahideen” is our only way to guess who can be behind these attacks.

By the time you have reached the warning on page 7 of the terrorist email that bombs are going to explode in 5 minutes, it would have been too late. Of course, the aim was not to warn but to convincingly establish the fact that the author of the terror letter is the one who is responsible for the serial blasts in Ahmedabad. Letter titled “The Rise of Jihad, Revenge of Gujarat’ was sent to various Indian media organizations few minutes before the bomb blast.

The letter begins with pictures of burning shops probably from Gujarat riots of 2002. It sets the tone for why these blasts were set up in Ahmedabad. If there is any doubt the heading below the photo states that it is a “revenge of Gujarat.” The letter is a terrorist manifesto released by the group calling itself ‘Indian Mujahideen in the land of Hind.”

The letter begins in the traditional Muslim style of first praising Allah and sending blessings on Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), quoting Quranic verses and Hadith to set up the theme of the letter. The actual message begins on page 5 of the 14 page long letter. Interestingly enough, they don’t hesitate calling themselves ‘terrorists’ in the first line itself.

Terrorist manifesto

The letter gets right down to business in the first few paragraphs itself when it asks all to “accept Islam and save yourselves” else get ready to be “slaughtered by our hands.” If that was not chilling enough for the reader, the letter adds that they are capable of your blood “spilled on your own cities.”

This terrorist manifesto is designed to send chills down the reader’s spine and you don’t have to be a Hindu to whom most of the letter is addressed to, to feel the impact of this letter. The other stated goal of this terrorism in writer’s own words is –making Islam superior over all religions. It is not mentioned how killings will help make Islam superior or acceptable to all.

Even though the letter warns that in 5 minutes something terrible is going to happen, it gives no detail or nature of this threat. Even the name Ahmedabad is not mentioned. But Gujarat is the target is clear from the beginning itself. Later, Narendra Modi is mocked and ridiculed, terming this attack as “the beginning” and the “opening launch.” But fails to mention why it took them 6 years to respond to what happened in Gujarat in 2002.

The letter written in English and sent to Indian news channels also addresses Gujarati Muslims to join the Indian Mujahideen in their terror campaign. It exhorts them to come out of fear using names from Muslim history like Khalid Bin Waleed, Ali bin Abi Talib, Salahuddin Ayyubi, Muhammad Bin Qasim.

The letter writer seems to be well versed with Indian current affairs and grievances of the community; the letter mentions Nanavati commission and fast-track courts that have failed to deliver timely justice to Muslims.

The writer is disillusioned by democracy and election process as well, but offers no alternate vision of governance. “Tehelka” which won much applause from Indian Muslims for doing the reports that revealed the involvement of Gujarat government in genocide of 2002 also comes under attack. Media is accused of making money out of the misery of the Muslims.

Addressing Muslims

The letter asks the Muslim youth of Gujarat to join the ranks of Indian Mujahideen but instead of any contact information it asks them to open their own franchise, do their own planning and most importantly it asks them to select their own targets. It tells them to target politicians, and leaders of the BJP, RSS, VHP, and the Bajrang Dal.
The “wicked police force” and their informers and spies are also to be targeted for killings. But the letter does not explain why the group has not acted on its own advice and instead has chosen to attack innocents in market place. As far as we know, none of the politicians, police officers or informers has died in all the blasts that the Indian Mujahideen takes credit for.

Like any extremist group, this one has also attacked its own, calling them hypocrites. The email makes special mention of Jamiat leaders Arshad Madani and Mahmood Madani, “who have bartered their faith in return of just one seat in the Parliament.” The writer seems to be unaware of the fact that Madanis are in a bitter battle with each other for control of Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind. Other interesting thing is that Darul Uloom Deoband is not mentioned which issued a fatwa against terrorism after a huge gathering of ulema. Other Muslim organizations like Jamaat-e-Islami Hind and All India Muslim Personal Law Board are also spared.

Maharashtra connection

It warns states of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh (UP), Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra. Except UP all these states border Maharashtra. Writer also mentions incidents of Maharashtra that did not catch national media attention.

The writer is aware of and mentions the Maharashtrian towns Digras, Yavatmal, and Jalna. This, and the fact that other states and the incidents in those states find no mention in the terrorist manifesto, suggests that this group or at least the writer of this group is based in Maharashtra.

It mentions Vilasrao Deshmukh, R. R. Patil, Madhukar Sarpotdar, and Mukesh Ambani which also suggest a strong Maharashtra connection.

(It should also be mentioned here that various Hindutva terrorist groups like Hindu Janjagruti Samiti, Bajrang Dal, etc have been active in Maharashtra. They have been accused of involvement in some of the bomb blasts in Maharashtra.)


No threatening letter will be complete without a list of demands. Indian Mujahideen’s demands sound more like threats than political demands. It threatens ATS, STF and different state governments to release Muslims arrested in the name of SIMI and other outfits. It threatens Mukesh Ambani for usurping Waqf land. Even though the terror writer has contempt for Indian judiciary, it still wants lawyers to represent those arrested on charges of terrorism. It claims credit for the blasts in UP courts and threatens to do that again if lawyers there continue to deny representation to those arrested.

The letter singles out ‘The Times of India’ and ‘Times Now” as examples of biased media and wants the media to report the torture and oppression of Muslims in riots and encounters the same way they report on ‘Islamic terrorists.’

Unlike the Jaipur (blasts) letter, this one makes no mention of India’s foreign policy which is surprising considering that Indian Muslims recently found themselves in the thick of discussions about US-India nuke deal. The vote that saved UPA government was just three days before the Ahmedabad blasts, yet the terror writer chose to ignore it.

The other interesting feature of this letter is the manner that Indian Mujahideen claims responsibility for the Ahmedabad blasts. They call it “the Gujarat serial blasts”- while some live bombs were found in Surat but other than that we are not aware of any other city being targeted. The claim also mentions that it was “planned and executed by Indians only”- what was the need to say this? Maybe to show their independent origin and to cut themselves off from other international terrorist movements. It specifically asks Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and other organizations not to take credit for these attacks. The question is, if Indian Mujahideen is really an independent organization, why would it mention LeT by name?

Behind the masks

The letter is signed by two persons – one is signed as Al-Arbi and the other, Guru Alhindi. Both signatures appear in English. The Jaipur letter was just signed as Guru Alhindi, but the hand-writing in both letters appear to be different.

In the two terror emails, Indian Mujhaideen group takes the blame for Varanasi blasts, UP courts, Jaipur, Mumbai trains, and Ahmedabad. Interestingly enough, the Bangalore blasts which took place just a day earlier finds no mention in this long letter. Similarly, Hyderabad and Ajmer attacks are also conspicuous by its absence.

The letter addresses Hindus and Muslims but other groups like Sikhs, Christians, Dalits, tribals do not figure.

The language of the letter suggests someone who has his education in India in English even though in places we see American spelling used for some words, but this could be due to default word processor settings set to the US English. The letter writer seems to be well aware of the Muslim way of speeches, but it seems that he is more comfortable with English than with Arabic or Urdu and chooses to sign even his Arabic pseudonym in English.

If he really wanted to address Muslim, he would have sent his letter in Urdu to Urdu news papers. By selecting news channels, he wanted to reach out to a wider audience, but more than that, to establish his credibility as the man behind the terror attacks. He has no qualms on calling himself terrorist and his actions as terrorism. Except for a vague goal of making Islam superior, he doesn’t seem to have any vision to offer Indian Muslims. Except that he wants to see more terrorism in India, he has no plan. He seems sure of himself and believes in his mission. Vague threats provide no clues to future attacks, but he does not seem to be a man in a hurry-he has time to reflect on his actions and explain it to his readers in the most chilling way.

Except for 1993 Mumbai bombings, none of the recent and high-profile bombings attributed to Muslim terrorist has led to any conviction. People arrested were let go weeks, months, and years later for lack of evidence. The credibility of intelligence agencies has evaporated with each new incidents and reports of arrests of innocents. How is it that those who had no prior knowledge of the terror incident can claim to catch the culprits just hours later? If the agencies were able to get conviction then that would have given a face to these unknown terrorists- and a study of how and why a person turned a terrorist could have provided valuable clues for containing the menace of terrorism.

Even though Muslims are not fully convinced that Muslims are behind the blasts, still, there is a strong possibility that some of us may be involved in terrorism and we have to work hard to remove any doubt and help the investigating and intelligence agencies find these people. This is possible only if the public and the police wor together and trus each other. Harassment of innocents, demonizing the community only help the terrorists.

This article was first published in Mint newspaper.