Yasin Bhatkal: The tale of a radicalized youth

Last Updated: Thu, Aug 29, 2013 16:23 hrs

New Delhi: A lecture on jehad he attended at an engineering college in his hometown Bhatkal in Karnataka triggered the emotions of 19-year-old Yasin Bhatkal. Four years later, he formed a group and unleashed mayhem killing hundreds in bombings across India, officials said Thursday after he was nabbed from the Indian-Nepal border.

Born Jan 15, 1983, Bhatkal's original name is Mohammed Zarar Ahmed Siddhibappa and he hails from Uttara Kannada district, about 400 km from Karnataka's capital Bangalore.

Possessing an aggressive nature, Bhatkal, police said, was radicalized following the US invasion of Afghanistan after the 9/11 terror attack on the US and the communal riots of Gujarat in 2002.

Passionate about jehad, Bhatkal would often visit the library of the engineering college to read up on Islamic books and texts, especially those that talked about holy war.

It was in October 2002 that he attended a lecture by Maulana Shish, a motivational speaker believed to be based in Pakistan, police said.

An emotionally stirred Bhatkal personally met Shish, who further radicalized his thoughts and convinced him to wage war against the Indian state and its people, officials added.

In 2007, he co-founded the Indian Mujahideen along with six others.

The group unleashed havoc across India with a spate of bombings. One of the more famous targets was the German Bakery in Pune where 17 people died in 2010.

The group was also blamed for nine synchronised explosions in Jaipur that killed 60 people and the Delhi bomb attacks the same year in which 30 people perished.

The young man came to Delhi in 2008 and married in south Delhi's Jamia Nagar area. Weeks later, the bomb blasts took place.

His father-in-law too was arrested for being involved in a separate terrorist activity.

The Indian government declared the Indian Mujahideen a terrorist outfit in 2010.

One of his associates, Mohd Fasih, who was involved in the Chinnaswamy Stadium blast in Bangalore and the shooting of Taiwanese tourists near the Jama Masjid in Delhi (both in 2010), was arrested in October last year.

Bhatkal had befriended Fasih at the engineering college and brainwashed him, police added.

One of the most wanted men in India and virtually the backbone of the Indian Mujahideen network, he was on the run for the past five years and took refuge in countries such as Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan.

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