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The footprints of Deobandi militant jihad in India and Pakistan – by Maloy Krishna Dhar

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Related post: Historical context and roots of Deobandi terrorism in Pakistan and India – See more at: https://lubpak.net/archives/306115

I have been sharing whatever knowledge I have about security threat to India from internal and external forces which believe in solidification of the Islamic Ummah, its holy duty to carry out jihad against Dar-ul-Harb Hindustan, imperative to create another Muslim Homeland out of present India and restore the glory of Islam all over South Asia and convert it as the main hub of Islamic Caliphate. These are not imaginary dialogues. These can be found in several web portals managed by the Islamists and working ethos and philosophy of scores of Islamist tanzeems.

What I say are not the views of an alleged, ‘rightist communal Hindu reactionary,’ as some national and international members of Deobandi and Salafi groups, Jamat-e-Islami, Jamiat-e-Ulema, Taliban, Al Qaeda and other groups describe their critics.

Personally, I am not a hater of anything except immoral social behavior and anything that challenge integrity of my country. They happily forget that soon after serial bomb blasts in Mumbai in 2007, I was one Hindu who dared to assist the Deoband luminaries and organise a congregation of all their Ulamas at the Parliament Annex Hall in August 2007, bring the leaders in touch with several opinion makers and important personalities.

While the Deoband School in India had taken at least a step or two by issuing a fatwa against “all acts of terrorism”, the Pakistani counter-parts have consistently failed to issue a single explicit fatwa against acts of violence and terrorism by Deobandi-dominated militant groups, such as Taliban (TTP) and Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (operating as ASWJ and LeJ).

Predictably there was counter reaction from Pakistan to the Indian Darul Uloom Fatwa against terrorism. No Deobandi cleric from Karachi’s Binori Madrassa to Akora Khattak’s Haqqania madrassa agreed to issue a clear fatwa against suicide bombings by the TTP, ASWJ and Al Qaeda. The head of Darul Ifta wa Al-Qazzath of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (Parent body of the Salafi Lashkar-e-Taiba) Pakistan, Mufti Abdul Rehman Al Rehmani, said that Indian clerics’ reconciliatory fatwas should be withdrawn immediately. He justified that, “the fatwa encourages Hindu beliefs.” The Ahl-e-Hadith Pakistan also issued a similar fatwa.

The Bangladesh Jamait-e-Islami, Ahl-e-Hadith and Deoband seminary (Dhaka) also condemned the Indian cleric’s fatwa. Prothom Alo May 3, 2008.

In spite of such deviant statements from neighbouring country (Pakistan and Bangladesh)’s ultra organisations the influential Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband on May 31, 2008 issued another “fatwa” denouncing terrorism. It stated that in Islam’s view: “spreading mischief, rioting, breach of peace, bloodshed, killing of innocent persons and plundering are the most inhuman crimes.” The fatwa came during an anti-terror conference organised by the Jamiat-Ulema-E-Hind and Darul Uloom in Delhi’s Ramlila Grounds. The fatwa, signed by Darul Uloom’s chief Riyasat Ali Bijnori, has been endorsed by representatives of some Muslim sects in India, especially a faction of the Sunni Barelwi, Khankahi and some minor Sufis sects. The fatwa assumes significance because of the Deoband (UP)-based Darul’s wide influence across the Muslim world. After the Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Darul Uloom Deobandi is the most important centre of Islamic theology. However, the fatwa was not signed by the Deobandi Nadwatul Ulama of Lucknow and most dominating faction of the Ahl-e-Hadith, Jamiya al Salafiya, All India Muslim Personal Board, All India Milli Council and obviously the Jamiat-e-Islami and (the Deobandi) Tablighi Jammat. It was also largely ignored by Deobandi ulema and madrassas of Pakistan who remain hand in glove with Pakistani establishment in its use of Deobandi militants as Jihadi proxies in Kashmir and Afghanistan.

There are also some major issues about the Darul Uloom Deoband’s declaration against terrorism. The Deoband declaration said, ‘Islam sternly condemns all kinds of oppression, violence and terrorism’. However, the next paragraphs stated that the Darul Uloom’s idea of terrorism was different to common understanding. It was not attacks by Jihadis and Islamist fidayeens on the kafirs that the Deoband was worried about. They were concerned more about branding of Muslims as terrorists whenever any jihadi terror attacks took place and subsequent attacks on Muslims by the infidels. I quote some parts of the fatwa… “The Conference expresses its deep concern and agony on the present global and national alarming conditions in which most of the nations are adopting such an attitude against their citizens, especially Muslims, to appease the tyrant and colonial master of the West . . . the conference strongly demands the Indian Government to curb those maligning the madrassas and Muslims.”

The truth cannot be covered up by diplomatic and political rhetoric.  That Deobandi madrassas in India, Pakistan Bangladesh, Afghanist and Myanmar are a key source of Jihadist militancy in the shape of Taliban, Al Qaeda and other militant groups is a statistical fact.

Indeed, those of you visited Deoband in UP would not miss that this old seminary is anything but a fountainhead of modern Islam. Do not believe me. Read what Tavleen Singh a celebrated columnist has to say, “The scariest religious institution I have ever been to is the Darul Uloom in Deoband. In the hour I spent wandering about its grounds on my single uninvited visit a couple of years ago I understood why it had inspired the Taliban. It is an institution that remains frozen in seventh century Arabia, a time when men were primitive and women got a primitive deal.” Reading between the lines of Deoband fatwa, Tavleen Singh, Indian Express, March 02, 2008.

My visits to that seminary impressed me that Deobandi and semi-Salafi version of Islam in its purest form was taught there and hundreds of students from all over the world study there and borrow the fundamentals of Islam from its Indian fountainhead.

Not too long ago I had the opportunity of visiting Binnori mosque of Karachi and the Deoband establishment in Dhaka. In both the places I noticed that the Islamic theology and other aspects of education dated back to pre-Wahhabi (Arab) and pre-Salafi (Egypt) days. Whatever they might teach about the religion propagated by Prophet Mohammad, one could not miss the tone and tenor of ‘hatred and religious compulsion against the jahil kafirs (illiterate, infidels).’ The Binnori mosque and madrasa had been the breeding pool of Deobandi jihadis fighting in Afghanistan and later the Taliban force. The Deoband, Jamat-e-Islami etc had conceived Harkat-ul-Ansar and Harkat-ul-Jiahd-al-Isami. These theological and theopolitical outfits in Pakistan and Bangladesh have emerged as powerful as the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Salafiya groups and al Qaeda are in most Muslim countries and in global parameter. In fact, Deobandi madrassas in Pakistan have also resulted in terror outfits such as Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (ASWJ aka LeJ) responsible for numersous massacres of Shias, Sunni Barelvis, Christians and Ahmadis.

The question boils down to the core issue: does the Deoband control minds of Indian Muslims and do they follow their fatwas as inviolable edicts? I am afraid, they do not. Though considered as important as Al Azhar of Egypt the Deoband Seminary is not the only religious school that had sprouted out of the revivalist, Wahhabi and Salafi movement initiated by Shah Waliullah of Delhi and his descendants. The fall of the Great Mughals had marked the end of Muslim political power (virtual caliphate) in India and rise of Islamic puritanist movement starting from Aurangzeb to the lineage of Waliullah.

History is witness to the emergence of other Islamist educational, theological and theopolitical and ethno-theo-political schools. In short these are: Indian segment of Saudi based Rabita-al-Alam-al Islami (preaching global Islamic connectivity), Tablighi Jammat (Deobandi), Jamma’a al Islamiya, Jamma’a al Salafiya, Ahl-e-Hadith, Nadwatul Islam, Firangi Mahall (French residency at Lucknow donated by Aurangzeb to an Islamic scholar), Jamiat Ahl-e-Sunnat & Manzar-i-Islam, the Ahmadiya, the Ahrar, Khaksar and several sub-sects of the Shia’a community. While the Ahrar and Khaksrs survive in some form in Pakistan the rest are active in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

It is a fact of life that the Deoband India and its political wing the Jamait-ul-Ulema-e-Hind have stuck to Deobandi and semi-Wahhabi fundamentals of Islam, which do not permit bid’a (heresy), dahriyat (atheism), and change in Islamic fiqh (jurisprudence), ijtihad (independent reasoning) etc tendencies displayed by deviant followers of Islam. Most South Asian Islamic theocratic, theopolitical and theo-extremist organisations follow these tenets.

In recent times (1978 onwards) the Deobandi Schools in Pakistan and Bangladesh, the Jamat-e-Islami and Tablighi Jammat etc besides the other institutions named above have joined the bandwagon of more radical version of Wahhabism and Salafism (al Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden are Salafists). These very organizations and tanzeems were used by General Zia-ul-Haq, Saudi Arabia, the ISI and the CIA to float several jihadist tanzeems to fight their geostrategic wars in Afghanistan. Simultaneously these tanzeems were also trained and pushed into Indian Kashmir to wage another phase of jihad.

From 1988 onwards this experimental jihad in Kashmir was broadened to the northern hinterland of India and after 1993 the ISI, in tandem with the DGFI of Bangladesh and the tanzeems like Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, Harkat-ul Ansar, Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami, Al Badr, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Jamiat ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh, SIMI, Islamic Chhatra Shibir etc carried out sustained jihadi propaganda through the institutions listed above, through madrasas controlled by them and through roving ulamas and Tablighi Jamat proselytisers. Jamat-e-Islami provides the steady ground for recruitment of fresh rukuns (primary members) who are brain washed and sent to Bangladesh and Pakistan for ideological and military training. The JeI connection was emphasized by Pakistan’s Interior Minister Makhdoom Faisel Saleh Hayat, “All of the activists and terrorists who have been apprehended in recent months have had links to the Jamaat-e-Islami, whether we have arrested them in Lahore or here or Karachi….They have been harboring them.” Al Qaida Pakistan Ties Deepen, The Christian Science Monitor, 03.06.2003.

Between 1989 and 2008 the ISI and the DGFI have set up camps, charted out routes and established supply depots for these rained Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi jihadis to create modules and cells all over India. The mission is nearly complete.

Let us briefly examine a few routes, areas of cells-modules and pockets of established presence of these jihadi elements. The ISI, DGFI backed tanzeems have set up bases in Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, West Bengal, Bihar, Eastern Uttar Pradesh and parts of Jharkhand.

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Innumerable cells and modules have been established in collaboration with the ‘believers’, paid agents and trained cadres. For lack of space the details cannot be explained in this column. In simple words these cells exist in the northeastern and eastern part of northern India. Most of the named institutions, mosques, madrasas managed by them are used by the home-grown and foreign jihadis. It has not been possible for the intelligence and security agencies to penetrate these hubs. (The map above referred).

A large number of cells have been established wihtin Pakistan, particularly in tribal areas (FATA), Khyber Pakhutnkhwa, Karachi, Khairpur, Quetta, Mastung, Muridke, Bahawalpur and southern part of Punjab.

As far as northern and western part of India the picture is more frightening. It would not be possible to add annotation on each hub or cluster of hubs in this flank. But the discerning readers can make out sense out of this broad vision and explore the possibilities of delving deep into the subject. To briefly state there are innumerable hubs, modules and cells in Punjab, parts of Haryana, Rajasthan, Delhi, Gujarat, Maharashtra and certain areas of Madhya Pradesh. We should remember that the Ahl-e-Hadith sect was started at Bhopal and it has now become a worldwide hinge of the extremist Islamists. (The map below referred).

To illustrate I wish to present another article on cellular modules, cells, sub-cells and Ansar (helper) groups in a particular hub. This is a scientifically proven methodology originally adopted by the Communist Parties, called apparatuses. The experts in setting up such tech-apparatus action cells) were called apparatchiks. This pattern was followed by some of the Indian revolutionary groups during independence struggle. Obviously, during the phase of urban guerrilla warfare in Europe (Red Brigade), Red Army Faction) etc the same formula was adopted in minuscule manner.

The Deobandi and Wahhabi/Salafi Jihad never insisted on cell making and positioning modules in foreign countries to wage jihad with a view to converting Dar-ul-Harb to Dar-ul-Islam; in India context regaining the Taj-e-Hind. The module and cell formation is a war technique taught to the Arabs, Afghans, Pakistani and other foreign jihadis by the CIA and the ISI while training the volunteers for Afghan jihad, i.e. War to end the Cold War, Pakistan further taught the technique to the jihadis of Harkat-ul-Ansar, Harkat-ul-Jihad al Islami and scores of the other Tanzeems it trained to operate in India. Same kind of training was imparted to the Indian insurgent groups like the NSCN (IM), ULFA, United National Liberation Front and the Bodos by China, Pakistan and DGFI of Bangladesh,

The pattern of setting up hubs is done on the following principle:
• Religious compatibility (Deobandi and/or Wahhabi/Salafi ideology)
• Tanzeem compatibility (Jihadist violence)
• Availability of safe route, safe house and vulnerable operational targets
• Indoctrinated Technical hands and logistical supply (ISI, CIA, Saudi Intelligence_
• Availability of adequate Ansars and safe exit routes.
• Safe communication facilities.

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Details of Hubs in Western India
I have written in an earlier column about hidden enemies in the southern parts of the country. An illustrative map may enlighten the readers more than mere words. It would have been a pleasure to elaborate certain hubs, modules and cells in various parts of the country. In short the hubs in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and areas of Maharashtra adjoining Karnataka and Andhra are most vulnerable. Space is a constraint. Inquisitive readers may like to read my book: Fulcrum of Evil: ISI, CIA, al Qaeda Nexus. I juxtapose an illustrative map for easy understanding:

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Details of Hubs in South India
This capsule presentation should evoke thinking and awareness and not fear. Fear stalks us, the jihadis are within us, and they are coming in steady streams from Pakistan and Bangladesh. We have to live with periodical Jaipur, Mumbai, Hyderabad etc and look up to a God called Government which does not deliver.

The attacks are not of the nature of horsemen galloping and tanks rolling down to capture India. The evil winds are blowing in poisonous gasses to vitiate minds of vulnerable Islamic individuals and groups. Real or imaginative acts of discrimination against the Muslims elsewhere in the world are being ventilated through organised violence in the name of jihad. This phenomenon is being mixed up with the pre-partition Muslim separatism that resulted in partition.

Several clusters of Muslims in India are still living together separately with the rest of the Indians. They derive pleasure by attributing this sense of alienation to neglect of the community by majority Hindus. Such feelings nursed for over 160 years since 1857, cannot be washed away by a Sachar Commission Report. It requires serious introspection by the enlightened Muslims and religious congregations like the Darul Uloom Deoband. Without introspection and faith in Indian national identity no amount of reservation and financial package can bring them up to modern global standard. Starting from Morley-Minto reforms (1909) to Congress-Muslim League Lucknow Pact (1916) to Khilafat bonhomie to partition we have treaded vast grounds. Our Muslim brothers have no reason to live together separately under the same roof. Our roof should be our common heart.

I would like to elaborate on certain illustrated jihadi modules and cells in the next column. In the meantime, like governments and agencies do not go to slumber. This country is ours and we have to protect it together-irrespective of our professed religious proclivities.

Adapted with minor changes and additional iformation from: http://maloykrishnadhar.com/the-footprints-of-jihad/

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