Citizens' Issues
After IM, Bhatkal now becomes new recruiting ground for IS
New Delhi : Once known in intelligence cirlces as the breeding ground of the homegrown Indian Mujahideen (IM) terror outfit, Karnataka's small coastal town of Bhatkal, a tourist destination with a lot of history, is unfortunately now being seen in the security establishment to be emerging as a possible incubator of the Islamic State's Indian terror module after a string of arrests from the town and nearby areas in the southern state.
 
 
Shafi Armar, who, intelligence agencies say is the main recruiter of Indian men lured to the IS ideology -- some of whom have even gone to fight alongside the Islamist terror militia in Syria -- also belongs to Bhatkal where he was born and lived with his two brothers, before leaving India in 2009.
 
Knowledgeable sources, speaking to IANS on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said Armar started as a member of the IM before fleeing from India to Pakistan with other top operatives of the outfit, Riyaz and Iqbal Bhatkal. Armar's elder brother Sultan, now dead, had also left India with him.
 
Armar, the sources further said, later went for training in Syria and is now believed to be a key member of Ansar-ul-Tawhid, a recruiting wing which has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.
 
He then formed an IS India module called Janood-ul-Khalifa-e-Hind whose 14 members were arrested in a nationwide raid conducted by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) last week. Janood-ul-Khalifa-e-Hind has reportedly been active since April 2015, the sources said.
 
After Armar, intelligence sources said, some more IS sympathizers named Suhail Ahmed, Damudi, Mohammed Afzal, Najmul Huda and Muhammad Abdul Ahad - all in NIA custody - have their links with Bhatkal, which is otherwise famous as a tourist destination.
 
"All the arrested suspected terrorists having links with Bhatkal are being quizzed to ascertain their role in the module. Interrogators are also trying to find out the exact number of people recruited from the town," the sources told IANS.
 
The sources privy to the investigation, however, said that the arrested IS suspects were not only asked to target Bhatkal to recruit members but to seek sympathisers across India for which they had organised several meetings in Lucknow, Mumbai, Mangalore, Tumkur (in Karnataka), Haridwar and Hyderabad.
 
Another official, close to the investigation, said that the main India-module recruiter of IS has been targeting his former IM aides who belong to Bhatkal and nearby towns in Karnataka.
 
Asked if Bhatkal town has become a "breeding ground" for IS's recruiters, Additional DGP (Internal Security) Karnataka Sunil Kumar told IANS on phone: "It's a matter of investigation."
 
"We are in constant touch with the NIA. Several people were recently arrested from Mangalore, Tumkur and Bangalore, but their role to recruit new IS members from Bhatkal or other states is a matter of inquiry and it cannot be shared," Sunil Kumar stated. 
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Steep reserve price may impact spectrum auction: GSMA
New Delhi : Following the Indian telecom regulator's recommendations on spectrum reserve pricing, the global association of telecom players feels the prices are on a higher side and may impact participation of companies in auction of airwaves.
 
"The GSMA is very concerned over TRAI’s (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) recommendation to set a starting price of $1.7 billion per MHz for pan-Indian 700 MHz spectrum. India has one of the lowest average revenues per user across the world ($2.45 at the end of 2015),” GSMA chief regul1atory officer John Giusti said.
 
“High reserve prices and an unrealistic pre-determination of spectrum value could also reduce the willingness of potential bidders to buy the spectrum,” he added.
 
The TRAI recommended a reserve price of Rs.1,595 crore for 700 MHz in the Delhi circle.
 
“In Australia, an unrealistically high reserve price resulted in a valuable portion of the 700 MHz spectrum left unsold and unused. Unused or under-utilised spectrum benefits neither the economy nor society,” the global association of telecom players said.
 
It said more the mobile operators pay for a spectrum licence, less the capital available to roll out new mobile networks. 
 
“As the digital economy becomes increasingly important to India’s future prosperity, we encourage greater focus on the long-term benefits of connecting more people in India to affordable mobile broadband, rather than on short-term financial gain,” he said.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Hyderabad voter has Salman Khan's photo on I-card!
Hyderabad : In a bizarre case, a voter in the Hyderabad civic polls turned up with an officially issued identity card carrying the name and picture of Bollywood superstar Salman Khan.
 
The staff at a polling centre in the old city of Hyderabad was taken aback when the voter showed an identity card with Salman Khan's name and picture to cast his vote in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation elections on Tuesday.
 
According to the card, Salman's father's name is Saleem Khan. The only difference is the age. The card shows it as 64 years while the actual age of the actor is 50.
 
Officials at the polling booth in Gowlipura in Charminar division did not allow the person to vote.
 
People said the incident was another proof of the manner in which election authorities issue voter identity cards.
 
"Those who are genuine voters in a locality don't get identity cards or their names are deleted without any notice," said Syed Haider, a resident in the old city.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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