NEW DELHI: The National Investigation Agency’s (NIA) painstaking probe into the Burdwan module has unmasked 12 “terror couples” who were waging jihad as a family enterprise in West Bengal, with the aim of preparing an army of militants in Murshidabad, Malda and Nadia. The revelation has shocked the security and Intelligence community in India as they see a chilling similarity with what is happening in Iraq and Syria where female jihadis are joining ISIS to carry out terror attacks with their husbands. NIA suspects that these young women acted as talent spotters in three districts of West Bengal. All the women are absconding.
The NIA probe details accessed by The Sunday Standard reveal that Fatima, wife of Sajid, the chief of the Burdwan module, was the lead trainer in Simulia madrasas. Fatima’s terror syllabus was designed by her husband. She taught new female recruits all about IEDs, rifle shooting and violent jihad.
Another terror teacher was Ayesha, wife of absconding terrorist Yusuf. Ayesha was responsible for imparting training in gun shooting. According to NIA sources, the training manual for jihadists included physical training, making sophisticated bombs, attending lectures and screening videos showing messages from terrorist leaders across the globe.
The NIA investigation has revealed that another terror preacher and IED trainer Moina Begum had joined her husband Talha Sheikh at Lalgola terror madrasa in Murshidabad. Talha is considered lead IED expert of JMB terror outfit and had trained Shakil Ahmed, who was killed in Burdwan on October 2 while making bombs. Shakil’s wife Razira Biwi and Alina Biwi, the wife of Hasaan Saheb, who was also killed in the blast, were the only two women to be arrested so far.
Talha is absconding and NIA has announced a reward of `10 lakh to nab the suspected Bangladeshi. Along with Moina Begum, another female jihadi trainer Saira, wife of Suman, was imparting training to female recruits. They used to operate out of Simulia and Lalgola and a defunct factory at Borkhagah in Beldanga, which was also used as a hideout.
Among the lead female jihadi trainers was Samina, wife of Nasirullah. She imparted training in shooting and ideology. Nasirullah is learnt to have prepared over 100 terrorist modules between 2007 and 2011. “The JMB network was looking for more such terror training camps and suspected terrorist Yusuf, resident of Mangalkot, had planned to build a terror camp disguised as a madrasa in Simulia Chatti village. They had purchased the land in 2013 for `8.75 lakh. During the same period, Rashail and Farukh, JMB terrorists from Bangladesh, reached Burdwan and stayed in Simulia and Lalgola,” a NIA source said.
Among the female trainee-turned-jihadi trainers were Alima, wife of JMB terrorist Halan, Khaisha, wife JMB module Naim, Selina Begum wife of Sakib, Bilkis Begum wife of JMB terrorist Kalam, Rafia, wife of JMB trainer Habibur, Khadiza, wife of Sheikh, Sayma, wife of absconding JMB terrorist Latib. The investigators seized four pistols and 39 grenades from Latib’s house. Investigators said the mobile phones seized during searches and raids at residence of suspected terrorists and madrasas in Simulia and Lalgola reveal a wide network of JMB in various states. Sources said calls had been made to suspected terrorists based in Bangladesh, Nepal and Saudi Arabia.
“The numbers appear to be of main conspirators or handlers who provided logistics to Burdwan terror modules,” a source added.
BJP claims of a Love Jihad in UP may have fallen flat, but NIA sleuths in Burdwan say the phenomenon is rampant in border villages of West Bengal. “JMB terrorists are targeting young women from under-privileged families to recruit them into the terror network.” Exposing the modus operandi, NIA said these “young women were first motivated through various means like money etc for jihad and persuaded to join madrasas for further studies.” They were later married off either to JMB members from Bangladesh or West Bengal.
Interestingly, a US cable dated December 16, 2005, quoting Inspector General of Police Dilip Mitra, who had pointed out this phenomenon. “On the Indian side of the border in West Bengal, there has been an escalation of violence against Hindus and fatwas threatening moderate voices. Authorities reported an increase in rape cases of Hindu women by Muslim men which they believe is part of the long-term strategy by radical Islamists to gain influence and numbers on the Indian side of the border.” Mitra went as far as to say he believed the de-facto border was some 5-10 km inside India.