KOLKATA: In yet another incident of Bengal women’s involvement with terrorist outfits, a 25-year-old from Kolkata’s adjoining Hooghly district, was arrested by Bangladesh Police in Dhaka on Friday.
The Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit of Bangladesh arrested Pragya Debnath, a 25-year-old woman who changed her name to Ayesha Jannat Mohona, on the charges of recruiting young people and raising funds on behalf of Jamat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), an outlawed terror outfit in Bangladesh which has moles planted in West Bengal and other parts in India, said sourced in the Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau (SIB), a central government’s intelligence wing.
Ayesha’s arrest came to light three months after the National Investigation Agency (NIA) tracked down college student Tania Parveen, a suspected Laskar-e-Taiba (LeT) member and agent of ISIS, in Basirhat, North 24-Parganas, in last March.
The SIB sources said they are yet to know Ayesha’s modus operandi in West Bengal and other parts of the country. "We are considering Ayesha a bigger threat than Tania. Ayesha, who belonged to Hogghly’s remote Dhaniakhali area, went to Bangladesh and was carrying out activities against the government of the neighbouring country. We do not know how many youths she recruited in India," said an officer of the central agency.
The SIB sleuths came to know that Ayesha had converted to Islam in 2009 while studying in school. "It appears someone took her into confidence. She came in touch with Asmani Khatun, the chief of JMB’s women youth wing in 2016, and was recruited in the outfit. Since then she started visiting Bangladesh frequently. She was in the neighbouring country in the garb of a guest teacher of a religious institute," said the officer, adding, "Asmani was arrested recently in Bangladesh and since then Ayesha was assigned to recruit youths for the outfit."
The presence of JMB operatives in West Bengal came to light after a blast in Khagragarh, Burdwan, in 2014 in which two persons were killed. "We came to know the outfit’s presence in districts such as Murshidabad, Nadia, Birbhum, and Malda. But Hooghly was never under our scanner because we did not find any footprint in the district while probing into the Khagragarh blast," said another SIB officer.
The central agency informed the Ministry of External Affairs about Ayesha’s arrest. "We need to communicate with Bangladesh Police to know the extent of Ayesha’s activities in West Bengal and India," the officer explained.