ibnlive » India

Mar 28, 2008 at 11:34pm IST

MP's Malwa region becoming a SIMI stronghold

Bhopal: The 13 arrested Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) leaders in Madhya Pradesh are apparently revealing a terror trail stretching from Karnataka to Mumbai and Delhi.

And no one it seems is more shocked than the families of the arrested persons. The family members of one of the arrested person, Hafeez Hussain, cannot believe that he was involved in terror-related activities.

For Naseer Hussain, Hafeez was his dear brother and when he heard that Hafeez was actually the Karnataka President of SIMI and was arrested in Indore on Thursday, his worst fears had come true.

"I can't believe it. We never thought he would be involved in such work,"

Naseer says.

The investigating agencies are hopeful of cracking many mysteries with his arrest.

On February 1 Hafeez told his family that he would come to Bijapur within eight to 15 days and take his father to Bangalore for an operation that he desperately needed. After that his family says he hasn't been in touch at all.

Meanwhile, in Bhopal, the police are still celebrating their other big catch - National Secretary of SIMI Safdar Nagori.

Along with Hafeez, he and 11 others have now been remanded to police custody till April 11.

But what exactly were all the top SIMI leaders doing in Indore?

"A case has been registered against the 13 arrested in Pithampur thana and they have been sent to police remand till April 11," Ashok Chaure, Public Prosecutor, says.

It's not just the Mumbai serial train blasts of July 2006 and Hubli blasts that investigators are looking into.

Almost every terror strike in the recent past has had some connection with the Malwa region from where Nagori comes.

While the briefcases used to store the explosives used in the Samjhauta Express blasts were bought in Indore, the fake e-mails claiming responsibility for the Mumbai blast also originated from an Indore suburb.

Preliminary interrogation conducted so far has revealed plans by the arrested SIMI leaders of creating a separate team of crack commandos. It was supposed to be team that could have been used to conduct more deadly strikes.

(With inputs from Deepa Balakrishnan)