MANTRAYA BRIEF#10: 24 SEPTEMBER 2015
Profile: Mirza Shadaab Beg of Indian Mujahideen
Bibhu Prasad Routray & Manoj Kumar Panigrahi
Mirza Shadaab Beg alias Engineer was born in Raja ka Quila under Kotwali Police circle in Uttar Pradesh state’s Azamgarh district. Son of Mirza Ahatesham Beg, Shadaab pursued engineering prior to his joining the Indian Mujahideen.
The exact circumstances under which Shadaab joined the IM are not known. He is believed to have been recruited by Mumbai based IM recruiter Arif Badr Sheikh and assigned to the outfit’s Azamgarh module. Over time Shadaab along with IM operatives like Tehseen Akhtar alias Monu is known to have assumed a central role in the Azamgarh module consisting of about 15 to 17 cadres. The module, formed sometime in 2007, is known to have been involved in all major explosions carried out by the IM in the country since 2005.
Shadaab’s technical background helped him to graduate into a recruiter for the IM especially targeting students undergoing technical education. The first person to have been recruited by Shadad was his own cousin Shaquib Nisar. After this Shadaab continued his recruitment drive mostly in the Integral University in Lucknow, a private university where Shadaab himself pursued a B.Tech. degree. Among the recruited were Hakim Abdul Karim, a man who was later arrested by the anti-terrorist squad of Uttar Pradesh for involvement in Delhi and Jaipur blasts in 2008. Karim was pursuing his fourth year bio-technology course at the Integral University.
Over time Shadaab was actively involved in many of IM’s operations. These included the explosion at the Sankat Mochan temple in Varanasi on 7 March 2006, explosion in Gorakhpur in 2007, and also at the Children’s Park near India Gate on 13 September 2008. Shadaab is believed to have conducted a recce along with other IM members for the explosions the outfit carried out at Ahmedabad in 2008.
Shadaab grew to be the third most important member in the Mehmood Ghaznavi brigade of the IM headed by his associate friend Mohammad Atif Amin. Amin was killed in the Batla house encounter with Delhi police in 2008. The Mehmood Ghaznavi Brigade, named after the 11th century warlord who once ruled over Afghanistan, controlled the IM’s north India operations. Shadaab is known to have shifted his base out of India after the Batla House encounter.
The circumstances under which Shadaab managed to flee India to Saudi Arabia and then to Pakistan using his own passport has been highlighted as a faux pas for the security agencies. His passport had never been cancelled even after his involvement in many explosions was known. His disappearance from India was reported by his friend Hakim Abdul Karim following his arrest and confirmed subsequently by Talha Amir, son of the president of Ulema Council Maulana Amir Rashadi Madni. The NIA, however, maintains that Shadaab landed in Pakistan by fleeing first to Bangladesh, a route which many IM leaders have used in the past.
In Pakistan, Shadaab went on to head a faction of the IM. Over time, along with Iqbal and Riyaz Bhatkal, the founders of the outfit, Shadaab grew unhappy with the stiff control exercised by the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) Directorate over IM’s activities, and wanted to intensify the war against India with the assistance of global terrorist organisations like the Al Qaeda and the Taliban. However, the ISI continued to assist him in several ways, which even included convincing the landlady of the house to let him stay after she asked Shadaab to vacate the place after growing suspicious of some Afghan visitors.
In 2014, Indian intelligence agencies reported that Shadaab along with IM leaders Shahnawaz Alam, Muhammad ‘Bada’ Sajid and Muhammad Shafi was training with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in North Waziristan. Later that year, he had associated himself with Ansar al-Tauhid, a group that operates in close alliance with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and has sent a number of fighters formerly part of the TTP network to Iraq and Syria. According to some unverified accounts Shadaab could be fighting in Syria on behalf of the Islamic State.
Charge sheet filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) says that Shadaab had allied with terror groups like Al Qaeda for exploring the possibility of carrying out Fidayeen attacks in India. He even explored the possibility of procuring explosives from Bangladesh and using the services of the Rohingya Muslims in Bangladesh for the purpose. The NIA further says that Shadaab used to regularly chat with his childhood friend Asadullah Akhtar Haddi (arrested in 2013) using an email account firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss the organization’s future plans and logistical requirements among other things. To avoid detection by the security agencies, he used to encrypt his files using the Axcrypt tool. In 2013, Shadaab was declared an absconder and his house was attached by the police. Shadaab’s name features in the list of 50 terrorists India wants extradited from Pakistan.
(Dr. Bibhu Prasad Routray is Director of Mantraya and Manoj Kumar Panigrahi is a lead researcher at Mantraya. This brief has been published under Mantraya.org’s Mapping Terror & Insurgent Networks project.)
All publications relating to the ‘Mapping Terror & Insurgent Networks project’ are archived HERE.