Mansoor Peerbhoy: An unlikely jihadi, he shows no remorse
7 Oct 2008, 0127 hrs IST,TNN
MUMBAI: With an impressive resume, a senior position with Yahoo and hailing from an educated family, Mansoor Peerbhoy may have appeared an unlikely jehadi to his folks and peers. But the facade masked a fanatical commitment to a jehad against "tormentors" of Muslims.
Intelligence sources who collaborated with Mumbai police to arrest Mansoor and others of an Indian Mujahideen cell conspiring to wreak mayhem in Mumbai were struck by the techie terrorist's utter lack of remorse. Frail and bespectacled, Peerbhoy, one of whose brothers is a chest specialist in UK and another an architect, was not fazed by his arrest or the punishment that awaits him.
"We are ready to face any consequence," he stoically remarked when one of his interrogators asked him whether he had ever paused to think what would befall him in the event of his being apprehended.
"We are not bothered about what happens in this life," Mansoor snapped, revealing the depth of radical zeal that can turn educated and "regular" guys into jehadis who do not flinch from mass murders of innocents.
Nor did the 31-year-old from Pune look particularly perturbed by the likely fallout of his diabolic enterprise for his wife, a homoeopath with a BHMS degree, and kid. "Allah will take care (of them)," he said coolly when asked why even concern for loved ones failed to deter him from taking to the path of violence and risk when things were going fine for him.
Steeped in what he saw as the persecution of Muslims in India, Iraq, Chechnya, Indonesia and other places, Peerbhoy had taken lessons in Arabic at Pune's Quran Foundation. Why a successful professional would take time off his busy schedule, which took him to the US twice in the past year or so, to learn Arabic puzzled interrogators, but for the terrorist this was not just a distraction but an important obligation. "You can appreeciate the best practices of Islam only if you know Arabic," he said.
Mansoor, whose knowledge of computers and software is rated as exceptional, also revealed how Indian Mujahideen spotters — Akbar and Arif — scanned those coming for Arabic lessons at Quran Foundation to seek recruits. Akbar would take recruits to meet Bhatkal brothers — Iqbal and Riaz, the two frontranking jehadis from Bhatkal in coastal Karnataka who had rented a flat in Pune's Kondwa locality.
Mansoor, however, knew one of the arrested IM operatives, Mobin Qadir Sheikh alias Salman, who has a BSc in computers, independent of Bhatkals. Sheikh had studied with Mansoor's younger brother.
The interrogation has also brought out the role of Bhatkal brothers, who with a deadly blend of intense jehadi zeal and deep underworld links are among the country's "most wanted" terrorists, in organising cells in Pune and Karnataka while using their Kondwa flat and Mazid Akhtar Shaikh's mobile and computer repair shop as meeting points.
Riaz, the younger of the Bhatkal brothers, with a degree in civil engineering, was personally involved in the bombings. Iqbal, who is a few years senior, focuses on "mental" training. The duo have an ardent follower in Akbar, a Pune transporter who was, sources said, allegedly involved in the serial blasts in Hyderabad.
Bhatkal brothers, who looked for the more impressionable among those taking Arabic lessons, ensured intense indoctrination at a big isolated bungalow off the Karnataka coast. For some strange reason though, they themselves kept away from the three-day long sessions filled with exhortations for jehad.
There is a strong reason for anti-terror agencies to rank Bhatkal brothers alongside leading jehadis like Tauqir Bilal alias Abdus Subhan — the missing Mumbai techie seen as the link between IM and SIMI activists across the country — and Qayamuddin Kapadia, the computer graphic artist from Vadodara who allegedly planned many of the attacks.
Known as Bada Bhai and Chhota Bhai within the module, Iqbal and Riaz are linked with Amer Raza Khan, a notorious Pakistan-based gangster closely aligned with ISI and HuJI. Amer, who heads the Asif Raza Tiger Force named after his brother who was killed in an encounter with Gujarat police, acts as an important conduit between the Pakistan-based terror groups and IM and SIMI modules like the one busted by Mumbai Police.