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HVK Archives: Arrest of suspect ISI agents points to Hyderabad's vulnerability

Arrest of suspect ISI agents points to Hyderabad's vulnerability - Sunday

G. S. Radhakrishna, Hyderabad ()
July 19-25, 1998

Title: Arrest of suspect ISI agents points to Hyderabad's vulnerability
Author: G. S. Radhakrishna, Hyderabad
Publication: Sunday
Date: July 19-25, 1998

The arrest of four ISI agents, Mohammed Ishtiyaq, Abu Kafa, Abu
Farookh and Mohammed Qayuum a week before the popular Telengana
festival of Bonalu has exposed the laxity of both the Hyderabad
Police and the regional passport officials.

The Union home ministry took the city police to task for the
premature leak of the news of the arrests on 2 July, as they
could seize only 12 kgs of the suspected 80 kgs of RDX explosives
smuggled across the desert to Bhuj on the western border and then
motored to Hyderabad. A week later few more arrests were made and
more RDX seized.

In 1994, Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence operatives led by
Dr Jalees Ansari of Bombay planted bombs at Madina Education
Centre, AP Express and the Secunderabad railway reservation
complex. Terrorist Mirza Fayaz Baig, who was involved in the
blasts, had escaped from a city court but was killed by security
forces near Srinagar.

Following this, the police recovered RDX stored by ISI operatives
in Nalgonda and Mahboobnagar districts. They also busted the
operation of the Kashmir-based Ikhwan-ul-Muslimeen, but not
before a DSP was killed in the encounter. Tackling the growing
militancy in the old city with a minority population of around 20
lakh is a complex problem. The city police have already
restricted the 43 cable operators from showing Pakistan TV. Since
1992, there have been some restrictions on the Friday prayers in
the mosques of Hyderabad and its surrounding districts. The state
BJP had alleged that mosques were being misused by the ISI for
recruiting Muslim youth.

An alleged ISI agent, Junaid alias Mohammed Ishtiyaq who was
arrested last fortnight had two Indian passports, one obtained
>from Hyderabad and another from Delhi. The proximity of Hyderabad
to Bombay and the Maharashtra districts of Aurangabad, Nanded,
Beed and Akola gave the activists easy escape routes. Gulbarga in
Karnataka has been identified by the AP Police as a major hideout
of ISI operatives, where they reportedly took shelter after the
explosions in AP Express and Madina Education Centre.

On the other hand, Hyderabadi Muslims fear that their lands and
businesses are being taken over by the majority community. Most
of them who lived under the protection of the Nizams till the
Sixties now feel that their survival is at stake with the
invasion of business classes trading in textiles, pearls,
jewellery and real estate. "Now almost 40 per cent of our
properties are in the hands of these businessmen while over 70
per cent of the Muslim community are starving without jobs and
income," says Mushtaq Ali, a schoolteacher of Yakatpura.

After the Babri Masjid demolition, the Muslims had been weaned
away by the Telugu Desam Party but NTR's overt religiousness was
never favoured by them. The Chandrababu Naidu government has
taken up several poverty alleviation and education programmes for
the minorities. However, Naidu's aligning with the BJP has once
again damaged his liaison with them. One of his Muslim
ministers, Basheeruddin Babu Khan, resigned from the Cabinet.

The decline in Arab marriages following the Ameena uproar and the
drain of Gulf jobs have also left a tell-tale impact on the
Hyderabadi Muslims. The youths, finding no prospect in jobs or
education, are falling prey to agents provocateurs.

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