I remember a few years back , I was watching an interview of Retd. IB officer in which he was asked about the failures of our intelligence agencies in which he pointed, “the citizens only know our failure stories because we can’t tell them our success stories”.
Nepal has a porous border with India which leads to easy smuggling and infiltrators In India. Smuggling of all sorts- ranging from Gold,fake currency,drugs,Rhino Horns,Weapons and Arms. Since 2001, Our Armed Forces(Shastra Seema Bal, Paramilitary forces) have arrested 6000 smugglers(figures till 2010) and every year, 400-500 smugglers are arrested .
The long border touching Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Sikkim makes it ideal for terrorists to enter India through Nepal.
RAW had an inkling of Pakistani Embassy at Kathmandu for making sleeping cells for terrorists in Nepal in 1997 when Sikh militant Bhupinder Singh Bhuda of the Khalistan Commando Force was arrested from a hotel in Kathmandu. He was secretly brought to India and during interrogation he gave details about the ISI network in Nepal.
Nepal’s terror transit point started in 1980s when some of the Sikh Militants were given shelters in pro-muslim areas and hotels of Kathmandu. They were funded by ISI.
Turning point of this Covert Op was hijacking of Indian Airlines flight IC 814 ,when five terrorists hijacked a plane and India had to leave three dreaded terrorists,one of them was Tunda, other was Maulana Masood Azhar who made Jaish-e-Mohammad, a banned terrorist outfit.
According to Ex RAW Chief , Mr Vikram Sood , RAW and IB planned for a covert Op or a secret Op which was planned to crack down every anti-Indian activity at Nepal. It was classified at the highest level and it was planned to crack every terror hub in Nepal. Involvement of ISI was clear and Nepal Intelligence Agency agreed to co-operate, all in silence. Since, 1985-2001, ISI planted militants in Nepal.
We thought Our Intelligence agencies are failing and all the while they caught many terrorists in Nepal and nabbed them and brought to safe House and then to India.
In October 1997, terrorists were arrested in Nepal and brought to India, they all pointed towards Pakistani Diplomat Mohammad Arshad Cheema(he was reported as to be the ISI chief in Kathmandu). He was kept on surveillance and once his connections with terrorists became evident, it was deported to India with the help of Nepal Govt.
There were 4 Flights a week of PIA from Pakistan to Nepal and that raised an eyebrow for Intelligence agents, in any manner 4 flights per week is not needed, it was an information that those flights are used for bringing weapons which will be then used for terrorist activity in India.
Mirza Dilshad Beg, a Nepali parliamentarian who had close links with ISI, played significant role in the spread of ISI network in Nepal. With deep contacts in the Nepali establishment, he provided hideouts and other logistics for the terrorists till he was killed by unidentified gunmen in 1998. no one knows who killed him and no one will know ever.
In a report given to Nepalese authorities in 2000, India had revealed the details of Pakistan’s dangerous game in Nepal. Indian intelligence officers have long been aware of the ISI’s activities to fuel anti-India feelings in Nepal
In high security Tihar Jail , there is one dreaded terrorist who was arrested in 2001, Lashkar militant Tariq Mehmood, in a letter written to trial judge some time ago, Tariq claimed that he was befriended by Indian Spy and he was brought to India through India-Nepal Border.
He was given to UP Police Special Cell, he allegedly told his interrogators that he was about to infiltrate to India to abduct Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly and seek the release of Harkat-ul-Jihadi Islami founder Nasrullah Langriyal, who is currently lodged in a Rajasthan jail.ccording to the chargesheet, Mehmood and his team were also planning to assassinate then Defence Research and Development Organisation chief A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and attack the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre at Trombay.
All of this info was kept classified in order to arrest more and more terrorists.
Mehmood’s interrogation helped security agencies arrest six Pakistani terrorists besides the local operatives from different parts of India, claims a police officer. Apparently, Omar Sheikh, one of the three terrorists released in Kandahar, trained Mehmood and others in Indian lifestyle and food habits.
Others picked up and brought to India include Mohammad Hassan alias Abu Qasim of Punjab in Pakistan(nabbed from Nepal on April 15, 2007), who was planning a fidayeen attack on Delhi on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Indias first war of independence in 2007, and Asif Ali alias Anas, who was arrested from Hotel Jagat in Thamel area of Kathmandu on July 11, 2006.
Interrogation of terrorists arrested from Nepal foiled many terror attacks and led to the arrests of their contacts in India. For instance, Mohammed Hassan, one of the terrorists picked up from Nepal, revealed the whereabouts of his commander in India whom he knew by the name Ammar. The information led to Ammar’s encounter killing in the Doda region of Kashmir three months later in April 2007.
The secret agencies go on greater lengths to keep the secrecy of any mission because every mission is of the country . We’ve got an understanding with the Nepal government, said an officer. We share information with them and get them on board [before operations]. We take their cooperation and when they feel satisfied about the information provided they allow us to take the terrorists to India. Taking suspected terrorists to India is a cakewalk once Nepal cooperates. Some are flown in at the middle of the night. Some, like 32-year-old Jaish activist Fayaz Ahmed Mir, are brought by road.
The programme follows a standard procedure, says an officer. Once a person is suspected with anti-India intentions, he would be picked up with help of the Nepal Police, blindfolded, handcuffed and in some cases given sleeping pills. Once in India, first destination would be either an interrogation centre operated by the one of the intelligence agencies or one of the police stations referred to in classified documents as black sites. The interrogation could last a day or take many months. Once the questioning is over, their arrest is recorded and are produced in court.
Recently Indian Agencies arrested Tunda at Indo-Nepal Border, who was the major coordinator of LET,now Yasin Bhatkal,head and chief of Indian Mujaheddin(banned Terrorist outfit) who is responsible for many bomb blasts in India in Nepal .
On September 20 ,2013 Afzal Usmani who ran away from Sessions Court,Mumbai was caught at Nepal Border when he was trying flee ,on October 27,2013. He told the interrogators that he wanted to smuggle drugs and he made some secret compartments in the car.
Local Police of Nepal have always acted against any Terrorist activity report by Indian Intelligence agency and that makes our bond strong with Nepal Govt.
In Nepal, what RAW and IB did was in the cause of India’s war against Pakistan-backed terrorism. They prevented so many terrorist attacks and saved so many lives. As they say, all is fair in love and war.