The Indian Express traces how Yasin Bhatkal, a class X dropout from a coastal Karnataka town, went on to become one of India’s most wanted and, until Thursday, elusive terrorists.
As security dossiers go, this one looks like it was put together a few years ago by a bored intelligence officer in a nondescript back office somewhere in Delhi. The document, which is in a table format, lists the name of the fugitive as Mohammed Ahmed Siddibapa alias Ahamed alias Yaseer. It says he was born on January 15, 1983, studied up to Class X and also Islamic issues, is 5 ft 6, fair, clean-shaven, wears “pant shirt” and moves with a laptop.
He is wanted for bomb blasts in Gujarat, Bangalore and Hyderabad. His associates are Riyaz, Iqbal, Sultan, Muyeed and Shabbir. He speaks Urdu, Kannada and Nawayati, a local dialect. He had a passport issued in Bangalore which was valid until June 18, 2013. Present place of stay: Unknown. Bhatkal arrest: A wife who keeps to herself, a factory no one approaches
Police officers around the country, however, say they should not be faulted if they call this dossier a gross understatement. Siddibapa, who is more famous as Yasin Bhatkal, is for them the co-founder and operational commander of the Indian Mujahideen, its official bomb-maker, trained bomb expert and the mastermind of nearly a dozen bomb blasts across the country who has been named in almost every terror attack since 2007.
In terms of his importance on the list of India’s most wanted terrorists, he was up there with the most dreaded. And until Thursday, the most elusive.
Yasin’s journey into the world of terror is said to have started in the early years of the last decade. He had joined the Jamiya Islamiya in Bhatkal, his hometown in coastal Karnataka, and was allegedly attracted to jehadi ideology since