What surprised interrogators was that, despite his humble background, he seemed to familiar with the works of Nobel Prize-winning playwright George Bernard Shaw and with the Gita, Hinduism's sacred text and philosophy.
"Tunda is highly intellectual and well-read in the works of social activists and their revolutions in world history," the sources told IANS declining to be named. Tunda was arrested by Delhi Police Aug 16 from the India-Nepal border as he was trying to enter India.
Tunda, who studied till Class 7 and came from a very poor family of Ghaziabad, expanded his intellectual vision after the age of 40 when he had taken to jehad, one officer said. He quotes extensively from the writings of Shaw and the Irish playwright's observations of the inequalities in society during his interrogation by police. Shaw was one of the founders of the London School of Economics.
"Many times he talks about Shaw, quoting from his writings and contribution to society. He describes himself as 'Allah ke nek bande (God's chosen people)," said the officer.
Tunda, who is accused in more than 40 serial bombings in India, has been lodged in the Delhi Police Special Cell.
"He is a great observer too. When the officers start asking him about his involvement in bombings, Tunda first closely observes the officer and listens to the question properly," said another officer.
Tunda, who has a beard dyed a flaming red with henna, is very canny. "He sometimes tries to sidetrack the quizzing officer by quoting from the works of social activists and writers like Shaw, and then holds forth for sometime," said a officer.
Tunda has no regrets about the terror activities he has indulged in, said the officer.
Tunda, who looks at least 15 years younger, speaks like a well-read, genteel person.
He knows about Hinduism and Hindu philosophy as enshrined in the Gita, said the officer. He also knows about Jainism and other religions across the world. He can read and write Urdu and Hindi and read English too, though he cannot write in the language.
Tunda had run many madrassas in Bangladesh and Pakistan where he indoctrinated Muslim youths for jihad as a religious duty of Muslims.
"He offers namaz five times everyday in police custody. He eats on time and is a frugal eater. He mainly eats dal, roti and chicken," said the officer.
Tunda, who worked in a cloth dyeing factory in Delhi as a young man and was later a cloth merchant in Ahmedabad, morphed into a radicalised jehadi militant after the 1992 Babri Masjid demolition.
"He was deeply upset at the sectarian violence taking place in several parts of India in the late 80s and early 90s. Over the years, he was the brain behind more than 40 serial bombings in several parts of India, including the 1997 Delhi bus bombing," the officer said.
According to another police officer, when Tunda fled to Pakistan in 1998 he met many leaders of small and big terror groups. They welcomed him warmly as his reputation had spread among the terror circles. They treated him like a royal guest for having successfully planned the execution of more than 40 bombings with his meagre resources.
When he joined the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) in Pakistan it was a small group. The members considered him to be a 'great achiever'. Tunda also got the opportunity to meet the underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, who was in Karachi at that time.
The LeT is believed to be one of the largest and most active Islamist terrorist organizations in South Asia, operating mainly from Pakistan.
(Alok Singh can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
--IANS (Posted on 23-08-2013)