Azam Ghauri: The ISI kingpin

George Iype

Azam Ghauri In 1990, when Azam Ghauri seriously injured one hand in an operation that he carried out for the outlawed People's War in Warangal, he had to flee Andhra Pradesh to avoid arrest.

He surfaced in Bombay, crossed over to Pakistan and joined the Lashkar-e-Toiba. One of his first missions for the ISI was the 1993 serial bomb blasts in Bombay. After that, Ghauri crossed over to the LeT camps in Pakistan for further training.

Ghauri then landed in Hyderabad. He floated the Indian Muslim Mohammadi Mujahideen. Its stated objective is "to eradicate western culture from India". The IMMM recruited a large number of Muslim youths for disruptive activities across the country.

While in Hyderababd, Ghauri frequently visited Nizamabad and Warangal, and clandestinely held consultations with the People's War, the Naxal outfit that taught him the basic lessons of militancy.

Police records show that Ghauri, who spread his ISI-aided operations to Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka, was involved in as many as 60 crimes. These include extortion, killings and theft.

Officials say there has been a steady flow of Pakistani nationals to Hyderabad and other south Indian cities under Ghauri's patronage.

Gauri is believed to have been killed in an encounter with the police at Jagityal of Karimnagar district in April. But he continues to be a role model for many radical Muslims.