The death of Shahid Bilal, commander of the Harkat-ul-Jihadi-al-Islami and alleged mastermind of the attack on the STF camp at Hyderabad, the Mecca Masjid and Hyderabad twin blasts and the Ajmer Dargah blasts, has raised several questions.
In fact news of his death started trickling in a few days after the twin blasts in Hyderabad. But the Intelligence Bureau said that it was a ploy by their counterparts in Pakistan to mislead investigations. While Bilal's death is more or less confirmed now, Indian intelligence agencies feel he was killed due to professional rivalry.
Bilal was given charge of HuJI's Indian operations and he was gaining popularity within the organisation. He seemed the only one who could strike at will anywhere and anytime in India. Moreover he had managed to recruit several Indian youth, especially from Hyderabad and was largely responsible for the re-birth of the Students Islamic Movement of India. He had also mooted the idea of using the SIMI as an executing agency in India as it would resolve the problem of pushing men into the country from across the border.
A spate of successful operations and the fact that he was the most wanted man in India made him a big name in the HuJI and Lashkar-e-Tayiba. They felt the three successful attacks on Hyderabad would bring them closer to their goal of liberating the city from the government of India and bringing it under Islamic/Nizam rule.
Bilal, who hailed originally from Hyderabad, was quite popular before he fled the country. The police believe that some of his sympathisers are still around in Hyderabad and that was why he was able to recruit youth from Hyderabad with such ease.
According to reports, these incidents propelled Bilal into a different league in the HuJI and LeT. It was around this time that Rasool Khan Parti, the man accused in the Haren Pandya murder case and the AMTS tiffin bombing case in Ahmedabad and now the serial bombings in Bengaluru and Ahmedabad, was also moving up the ranks.
Parti showed even he was capable of managing operations in India. His efforts in recruitment and execution of attacks brought him laurels. But there was an increasing divide between Bilal and Parti and their professional jealousy grew. Increasingly HuJI and the Inter Services Intelligence found Bilal was getting too big for his shoes and getting too hot to handle. Hence, Indian intelligence sources feel, they used the rivalry to get Bilal eliminated.
IB sources say that Bilal was executed by Patri in Karachi. Their information from a HuJI intercept suggests that Bilal and his brother Samad were shot dead by Parti's masked men while riding a motorcycle in Karachi on August 30 2007.
Following his death, a blog run by an unknown outfit called the Muslim Raw, put out a obituary calling Bilal a martyr. They obituary mentions that Bilal was not responsible for the Mecca Masjid blasts, but takes pride of his involvement in the STF attack.