NIA finds al-Qaeda recruits in Bengal; Governor hits out at Mamata government

On interrogating the six arrested from Murshidabad on Saturday, the NIA sleuths have unearthed the identities of two persons from Malda working in tandem with them, he said.

Published: 21st September 2020 05:57 PM  |   Last Updated: 21st September 2020 05:57 PM   |  A+A-

West bengal governor Jagdeep Dhankar, Jagdeep Dhankar

West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar. (Photo | PTI)


KOLKATA: The National Investigation Agency (NIA), which has arrested six al-Qaeda terrorists from Murshidabad distrct of West Bengal, has found that more people in the state are working for the terror outfit, an official of the investigating agency said.

On interrogating the six arrested from Murshidabad on Saturday, the NIA sleuths have unearthed the identities of two persons from Malda working in tandem with them, he said.

"There are more members spread in other districts of West Bengal as well as other states having links to al-Qaeda. In fact, the two from Malda were present at a meeting at the Murshidabad house on Thursday night. They had left the place early on Friday morning and the six were arrested by the NIA on Saturday."

"The two are now on the run and a search for them has started ," the official told PTI on Monday.

According to the NIA sources out of the six arrested, two are students having close links to some persons in Kashmir.

A few SIM cards which were seized from their possession, the laptop and the mobile phones used by these two students, revealed their link to "unknown" persons in Kashmir.

ALSO READ | Main accused in Al-Qaeda terror plot had travelled to many places in South, East India: NIA

"One of the two is a second year undergraduate student of computer science at Basantapur Engineering College in Domkal, while another is a first year student in a college in Karimpur. The laptop and the mobile phones which these two were using showed several contacts in Kashmir, Kerala and other states. They were using several SIM cards. Several WhatsApp chats and video conferences were held using these numbers."

"There are several groups created on WhatsApp (by them). Several communicating apps were also used. We are questioning them," he said.

The NIA sleuths on Sunday night conducted a raid at the house of Abu Sufiyan, one of the six arrested from Murshidabad, and questioned his family members, the officer said.

They seized electrical circuits and other devices from a concrete-bunker found inside Sufiyan's residence, he added.

The NIA had on Saturday arrested nine terrorists associated with a Pakistan-sponsored module of al-Qaeda, the transnational terror outfit, after conducting simultaneous raids at several locations in Kerala and West Bengal.

The raids were conducted on Saturday at Ernakulam in Kerala and Murshidabad in West Bengal.

The NIA has learnt about an inter-state module of al- Qaeda operatives at various locations in India, including West Bengal and Kerala.

Meanwhile, Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Monday slammed the director general of police for his "don't-care attitude" and "ostrich stance" on the law and order situation in the state, which has turned into a "safe haven" to terror and crime.

Dhankhar said he was surprised at the DGP's "two- sentence" response to his confidential communication, and asked the state police chief to meet him by September 26 to impart details of the "alarming decline in law and order" and the steps required to tone it up.

The governor said there can just be no takers of the DGP's assertion that "West Bengal Police firmly adheres to the path laid down by law. There is no discrimination for or against anyone in an extra legal sense".

Nothing can be farther from the grim reality and truth, Dhankhar asserted.

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"Anguished at DGP West Bengal Police 'don't care' ostrich stance on law and order. The state is safe haven to terror, crime, flourishing illegal bomb making, corruption resulting in atrocious violation of human rights and oppressive quelling of all opposition."

"All elements antithetical to rule of law are amply reflected day in and day out," Dhankhar, who has been at loggerheads with state government over a host of issues, said.

He alleged it is an open secret that the West Bengal government is functioning on "police crutches", and the police, "ever in political readiness", is abandoning its lawful public duty.

"Such 'capitulation' benumbs rule of law and saps essence and spirit of the Supreme Court judgement that affords him (DGP) fixed two-year tenure, so that he may act as per law and independently," the governor said.

Instead of being the protector of human rights, Dhankhar said, the police in the state "is turning out as severe threat to such rights".

"All these sinister developments are expectedly in the know of the DGP. He must know a day of reckoning, and not far enough, awaits all such transgressions that as constitutional head I cannot and will not overlook," he said.


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