KOLKATA: Proving the fears in this regard true, al-Qaeda terror outfit has now reached Indian shores via the Bangladesh border in West Bengal. Links with Chechen rebels and al-Qaeda’s new wing came to the fore after a blast tore through a house in Bardhaman district during Durga Puja last week.
Even as the state government in a panic reaction has sealed off the border with Bangladesh and set up a special task force to deal with the situation, the West Bengal Police arrested two more men on Monday, Hassan Mollah and Abul Hasim, on the basis of word profiles given by the locals. Mollah allegedly used to visit the house and transport IEDs covered with cloth.
Meanwhile, the Opposition parties on Monday accused the ruling Trinamool Congress(TMC) of having links with terror outfits and posing a threat to the country. West Bengal BJP president Rahul Sinha alleged, “The incident at Bardhaman has proved that the TMC is linked to international terror outfits which are patronised by Pakistan’s ISI.
The party had earlier sent funds to the Jamaat in Bangladesh in exchange for favours in West Bengal, where it was given an important position to a SIMI founder-member in the party.”
“The state police, instead of nabbing the terrorists, was now trying to hush up the case by distorting facts and not cooperating with the NIA. The owner of the house is a known TMC leader and along with these foreign militants he had also let out a room on the ground floor to the TMC where it had its office,” he further alleged.
CPM PolitBuro member and Left Front chairman Biman Bose too spoke of a collusion between Islamist terrorists and the TMC and remarked, “It is a very ominous sign as the TMC was practising soft communalism and being linked with terrorist organisations.” The owner of the two-storeyed building, Haji Hasem Chowdhury, had let out the entire first floor to the two couples who, he said, had claimed to be running a textiles business.
TMC national secretary and Rajya Sabha MP Mukul Roy, though, trashed the claims of the BJP and the CPM saying, “We refuse to take lessons in patriotism from these parties and it is they who jointly are trying to foment communal tensions in Bengal,” while the party’s MP from Bardhaman district Mumtaz Shanghamitra condemned the incident and blamed the police for not being alert. “Had the district police been alert and collected proper intelligence, these sort of activities could have been detected earlier and such an explosion avoided,” she said. The NIA team, which reached the district, found burnt leaflets in Bengali and Arabic from al-Qaeda chief Ayman-al-Zawahiri asking Muslims in West Bengal to fight for the cause of Islam and in India, al-Jihad. However, the NIA initially did not receive cooperation from the state police, which detonated 55 improvised explosive devices (IED) on the banks of the Damodar even before the Central forensic team could reach the spot.
As reported by Express on October 2, which had warned of a red alert being issued for possible terror strikes during Durga Puja in West Bengal, an explosion had occurred at a house in Khagragarh in Bardhaman on the same day. Islamist militants had been engaged in the production of hand grenades and rocket launchers in that house and the police found traces of 33 types of chemicals there. While the NIA report mentioned links between terror outfits in Bangladesh, mainly Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen and the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), the state Home Department in its report did not name the SIMI but suspected Islamist terror outfits in Bangladesh. While it is not yet clear who were the end receivers of the IEDs, sleuths felt it might have been meant for Jamaat-e-Islami outfits to carry out subversive activities against the Awami League Government there, as well as the sleeper cells of the SIMI to strike within the country. Shakil Ahmed Gazi and Subhan Mondal, who died in the explosion were said to be Bangladeshi citizens based in West Bengal.