Tunda is popular as a bomb maker, jihadi, mentor and recruiter in the LeT circle.(Photo/PTI)
In what is considered a major catch, a special police cell of the Delhi Police arrested ‘Hakim-ji’ Syed Abdul Karim Tunda on Aug 16 at the Indo-Nepal border. On the run for 19 years, his arrest has brought with it a flood of information on Lashkar-e-Toiba’s operations, possible answers, and of course, new hope in India’s fight against Jihad.
Tunda is popular as a bomb maker, jihadi, mentor and recruiter in the LeT circle. The man with a henna-coloured beard had his first experience with explosives at the age of 12. He has been a scrap dealer, carpenter and cloth merchant before he became a jihadi at the age of 40. In the 80s, he lost his arm during a bomb-making accident which earned him the name Tunda, meaning a one-armed man.
He is wanted in 40 blast cases and allegedly masterminded the 1993 Bombay blast along with Tiger Memon and Dawood Ibrahim. His capture is a result of efforts by Indian RA&W and intelligence services in UAE and Saudi Arabia. While it comes as a big blow to Lashkar operations in India and J&K, he also has information on Pakistan’s ISI, who initiated him into terrorism. He is known to be connected to others like Hafiz Saeed, LeT’s chief, Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, top LeT leader, Wadhawa Singh, chief of Babbar Khalsa International organisation, and most importantly, Dawood. Apart from connections, hopefully India will glean details about their expansion plans, smuggling routes, whereabouts of other fugitives and transactions from Tunda.
Despite Pakistan’s repeated denials, the 70-year-old confessed that Dawood is indeed, in Karachi, and monitored by ISI. Both, incidentally, are among the 20 Most Wanted terrorists that India demanded Pakistan hand over post 26/11 attacks. ISI allegedly supplied fake Indian currency notes to LeT operatives and his link with former ISI chief Hamid Gul (which was also denied) also made headlines last week.
In the light of the startling revelations and the recent LoC ceasefire violations, India and Pakistan now seem to have a whole new chapter to deal with. Simply put, Tunda is now filling the blanks of 30 years of terror attack-related mysteries.