Bhatkal: Every time, anywhere in Karnataka, a terror alarm is sounded about terror activities, it rings in the name of Deccan Mujahideen, founded by Riyaz Siddibapa (aka Riyaz Bhatkal) and his two siblings, Yaseen and Iqbal. The arrest of Maaz Muneer and Sayyad Yaseen, both in their early 20s, on Tuesday brings back the memories of the terror elements who founded the Indian Mujahideen and later Deccan. Another suspect, Shariq, is on the run. The seeds of terror that the three siblings had sown have now given a rebirth to the radicalised youths in Shivamogga in the form of three terror suspects caught by the police.
This ancient coastal port town is in a state of shock, ever since the German Bakery blast in Pune by the IM operators Riyaz and Yaseen. The town was under the surveillance of the National Investigation Agency and the Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) Mumbai. Riyaz, who founded the Indian Mujahideen in Bhatkal in 2001 fled from Bhatkal after the Indian intel sleuths started hunting for him. But the recent ISIS connection that has been alleged in the town has shocked the townspeople. One of the suspects who was reportedly killed in Syria fighting the anti-Islamic State forces Mohammad Abdul Kadir Sulthan Armar is definitely from Bhatkal. Armar got into the anti-India terror link with Yaseen who co-founded the Indian Mujahideen and Deccan Mujahideen,
After Yaseen was arrested in 2014, Armer crossed into Pakistan via Nepal and perhaps entered the regime of ISIS in Syria say the intel sources. It was Yaseen who blurted out the names of the Mujahideen outfits for the first time during his interrogation by the intel officials. Armar has been cited as one of the main recruiters of youth from India and has taken several youths with him to Syria through many other routes the names spilt by Yaseen includes Anwar, Shafi Armar both from Bhatkal, Hussain Farhan, Mohammad, Salim Ishaq and Afeeq Mota, and sent them to the hills Waziristan for training.
Sources say that the Armer brothers and their recruits had an initial leaning towards Al-Qaeda but with the exit of Osama Bin Laden their loyalty turned towards ISIS, following promises by the ISIS leadership in their future India operations.
For the first time, an Indian-born anti-India terror group, Indian Mujahideen, was featured alongside the international Islamic terror group Ansar-Ul-Tawhid along with ISIS and Tehrik-e-Taliban. After this two-year journey into the Islamic terror and Islamic state movement IS forces in Syria, the governments of Kerala and Karnataka have been in constant sharing of intel inputs over the terror suspects from the coastal region.
In both cases, Shivamogga and Bhatkal, one place prominently featured was Mangalore city. In fact, Riyaz Bhatkal was first sighted as a terror link in Mangalore before he fled to Pune and took up German Bakery blast. The modus operandi now followed by the three terror suspects caught in Shivamogga reeks of the design followed by the Bhatkal brothers.