Today, the US State Department added the Indian Mujahideen to the list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations as well as to the list of specially designated global terrorist entities. The designation allows the US to freeze the group’s assets, and prevents individuals from providing support to the terror organization.
State described the terror group as “an India-based terrorist group with significant links to Pakistan,” and said it is “responsible for dozens of bomb attacks throughout India since 2005, and has caused the deaths of hundreds of innocent civilians.”
“IM [Indian Mujahideen] maintains close ties to other US- designated terrorist entities including Pakistan-based Lashkar e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM) and Harakat ul-Jihad-i-Islami (HUJI),” the statement explained. “IM’s stated goal is to carry out terrorist actions against non-Muslims in furtherance of its ultimate objective – an Islamic Caliphate across South Asia.”
The Indian Mujahideen’s “primary method of attack is multiple coordinated bombings in crowded areas against economic and civilian targets to maximize terror and casualties,” State continued, and said the group was involved in the terror attack in Pune in 2010 (17 people killed), New Delhi in 2008 (30 people killed), and Ahmedabad in 2008 (38 people killed). The terror group “played a facilitative role in the 2008 Mumbai attack carried out by LeT that killed 163 people, including six Americans.”
While not stated in the State Dept. release, the Indian Mujahideen is suspected of conducting numerous other attacks in India, including the July 13 bombings in Mumbai that killed 21 people, and the Sept. 7 attack outside a courthouse in Delhi that killed 11 people (both the Indian Mujahideen and the Harakat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami claimed credit for this attack).
In the past, the existence of the Indian Mujahideen was denied by India’s Intelligence Bureau. Instead the Bureau has claimed that the terror group is a front group created by the Bangladesh-based Harakat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami, or HUJI-B, an al Qaeda affiliate. According to the Bureau, HUJI-B created the Indian Mujahideen to confuse investigators and cover the tracks of the Students Islamic Movement of India, or SIMI, which provides logistics for the attacks.
SIMI is itself a front group for the Harakat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami and Lashkar-e-Taiba inside India. It receives support from Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence and is an al Qaeda affiliate. SIMI provides logistical support for attacks in India.
The designation of the Indian Mujahideen was characterized by the State Dept. as a demonstration of the US government’s solidarity with India.
“These designations highlight the threat posed by IM not only to Western interests, but to India, a close US partner. The Indian populace has borne the brunt of IM’s wanton violence and today’s actions illustrate our solidarity with the Indian Government,” Ambassador Daniel Benjamin, the Department of State’s Coordinator for Counterterrorism, was quoted as saying in the press release.