Jihad does not sell anymore: SIMI chief
Monday, June 30, 2008 03:04 IST
Nagouri says he almost quit a few months back
MUMBAI: Jihadis are making little headway in garnering support for their cause among Muslims in the Indian mainstream. And the chief of the rump Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), Safdar Nagouri, is so disheartened by the lack of response that he recently startled police interrogators by telling them he had become disillusioned with the concept of jihad. He added that since the latter part of 2007 he had even been thinking of deserting SIMI.
Nagouri, along with his more hardline deputy Shibly Pedicaal Abdul, were arrested in Indore by the Madhya Pradesh police on March 27. The two are being interrogated by the Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad (ATS) and the intelligence agencies here on their involvement in the July 2006 Mumbai train bombings.
State ATS chief Hemant Karkare says “His interactions with ordinary Muslims may have had wrought these changes in his fundamentalist worldview. Nagouri got somewhat disenchanted with jihad and the Islamist cause around the later months of last year.”
According to ATS officials, the radical ideologue, who is linked to some of the deadliest terror hits around the country, now believes SIMI is losing its sway among Indian Muslims. Nagouri had conveyed his reading of the situation to the organisation no 2 and his chief recruiter Shibly.
“The splintering of the parent organisation and SIMI’s growing disconnect with the larger Muslim community may have shocked Nagouri,” said an intelligence official closely associated with the interrogation. Interrogators, however, found Shibly a much tougher nut to crack.
Officials quoted Nagouri as admitting that ordinary Muslims were averse to being indoctrinated and were found to have firmly pitted themselves against terrorism and the idea of a global jihad in the name of Islam.
“Nagouri and Shibly also detailed how their tailored attempts at recruiting young Muslims for jihad were frustrated by members of an ‘unwilling’ community,” said a senior intelligence official.
Security officials believe Nagouri’s confessions might go a long way in significantly altering popular perceptions about Indian Muslim youth being all too vulnerable to the processes of radicalisation.
However, records showed Nagouri had visited the city days ahead of the July 2006 blasts – also presiding over a couple of secret meetings attended by jihadist operatives of radical terror groups.
Security officials also asserted that SIMI had all along provided ready-made cadres to Pakistan-sponsored jihadi groups such as the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba and Jaish-e-Mohammad.