Terrorists changing strategies constantly: Ved Marwah

By George Joseph, IANS,

New Delhi : The Delhi High Court bombing has again proved that jihadi terrorists are “constantly re-grouping and changing their strategies to avoid leaving footprints to the security agencies”, says top security expert Ved Marwah.

Support TwoCircles

“The Batla House encounter in 2008 (in New Delhi) was a big setback for the jihadi terrorists. Learning lessons from the incident, they have been constantly changing their strategy not to get caught easily and to avoid leaving footprints for the security agencies,” Marwah, a former Delhi Police and National Security Guard (NSG) chief, said in an interview with IANS here.

“They (terrorists) are around. They are active and constantly re-grouping. Sometimes they lie low, sometimes they surface in new labels and adopt new strategies. But the jihadi threat continues,” said Marwah, 79, who was also security advisor to the Jammu and Kashmir governor during the peak of insurgency in the early 1990s and the governor of Manipur, Mizoram and Jharkhand.

The terrorists are adopting new and changing strategies suited to the situation and the region, he said. “They may be having one strategy in Kashmir and another in Kerala or in Uttar Pradesh.”

According to Marwah, though the final investigations alone will show whether it was the Harkat-ul-Jihadi Islami (HuJI) or the Indian Mujahideen (IM) or some other outfit behind the latest terror outrage, it was an insignificant factor.

“Ultimately, they are birds of the same feather, reared and directed by the same masters,” he said, contending that most terror strikes in the country – whether it is the high court blast or the July 13 Mumbai serial blast, the German Bakery blast in Pune or those in other parts of the country – have the common link of jihadi ideology and operational backing of foreign agencies.

“I do think all the jihadi terror strikes in India have some kind of backing from Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) – Pakistan’s spy agency.”

“They (Pakistani agencies) may be busy with their volatile situation in Karachi and other towns or on the Afghan border, but India is always on their radar. They keep trying to foment trouble here.”

The outfits – whether it is a homegrown IM or a Pakistani-dominated Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), or a Bangladesh-centred HuJI or the international Al Qaeda – appear to be different, but they all converge at many points, he said. “Even in an incident like the high court blast, they may find common cause,” he said.

Marwah said that the jihadi fundamentalist ideology is active globally, though there was a feeling that the “Jasmine Revolution” of Tunisia, which triggered pro-democracy protests in West Asia and Africa and the killing of Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden will weaken the jihadis.

“Instead of one Osama, now you have Osamas in different countries and at the local levels.”

Marwah feels it is a combination of factors – fundamentalist ideology, desire for social prestige, unemployment and craze for money – that has contributed to the rising cadre of the jihadis in India.

Then there are overground organizations like the Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) which provide a steady supply of cadre to the militant Islamists.

“Only a small percentage of the Muslims may be in favour of the terrorists. But the existence of jihadi outfits looking for opportunities to strike terror is another rude reality.”

Meanwhile, Marwah contends that the “politicisation of the issue of terror, vote-bank considerations and the lack of pro-active policies at the political level” have demoralised the officials fighting terror, leaving it easy for the ultras to strike.

“Look at the Delhi Police. They had solved almost all the terror cases till 2008. But after that, a kind of lethargy has crept in,” he said.

(George Joseph can be contacted at [email protected])