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Pakistani ISI accelerates terrorist agenda in India and Bangladesh

Trinamool Congress, Mamata Banerjee, Pakistan, Jama'atul Mujahedin Bangladesh, Pakistani ISI, Al Qaeda, Islamic State, Tablighi Jamaat

Counterterrorism

Pakistani ISI accelerates terrorist agenda in India and Bangladesh

Finally, West Bengal’s thuggish Trinamool Congress (TMC) and Mamata Banerjee’s outrageous agenda of disintegrating the province from India has become open with a recent statement of Trinamool leader and radical Muslim, Sheikh Alam. According to media reports, on a campaign trail in West Bengal for the upcoming assembly election, Sheikh Alam threatened that if Muslims unite, they could make four new Pakistan in West Bengal. He said: We are 30 per cent and they are 70 per cent…If our Muslim population moves to one side then we can create four new Pakistan. Where will the 70 per cent of the population go?

For years, West Bengal’s Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and majority of her party cronies have been day-dreaming of disintegrating the province from India with the active support from her jihadist and ISI darlings. She has been practicing politics of appeasing Muslims, and has been providing monetary help to imams of mosques since 2012. According to security analysts, Mamata and TMC’s continuation in power in West Bengal may only turn this Indian state into a safe haven for Islamist jihadists and Pakistani ISI operatives.

Bangladesh and India threatened by ISI’s terrorist plots

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her government are showing zero tolerance to radical Islamic militancy groups as well as anti-India separatist groups ever-since Awami League formed government in 2009.

Under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh Police, Rapid Action Battalion, Counterterrorism and Transnational Crime Unit as well as other law enforcement and intelligence agencies in the country are wholeheartedly combating militancy and terrorism. As a result, notorious jihadist group such as Jama’atul Mujahedin Bangladesh (JMB) has been operating from West Bengal, under direct patronization of Pakistani ISI, while the group also maintains connections with Al Qaeda. According to counterterrorism analysts, JMB is currently operating as the subcontinental franchise of Al Qaeda. A number of JMB operatives also are maintaining connections with Islamic State (ISIS) and another dangerous Islamist outfit named Hizbut Tahrir, while it has been systematically enhancing influence on Tablighi Jamaat members. It may be mentioned here that, Tablighi Jamaat is used by the jihadist outfits such as Al Qaeda and Islamic State as one of the key recruitments and radicalization fronts.

In July 2019, India’s State Minister for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy accused Jama’at-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) of using some madrassas (religious schools) in West Bengal for radicalization and recruitment activities. The claim came a week after Indian police arrested four members of the pro-Islamic State (ISIS) faction of JMB in West Bengal. The current west Bengal political system has created fertile grounds for a jihadi to extend its tentacles. The assembly elections preparedness proves the proximity of jihadis with the ruling party in West Bengal.

Jama’at-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) came to limelight back in 2004, under active patronization of pro-Islamist, Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and Jamaat-e-Islami. According to media reports, several influential leaders of BNP were playing active role in using this jihadist organization in silencing their political opponents as well creating an atmosphere of turning Bangladesh into a sharia state – a xerox copy of Pakistan. One of the agendas of BNP was to use JMB and other Islamist groups, such as Khatmey Nabuwat Andolan, Khelafat Majlish, Khatmey Nabuwat Movement, Organization of Repatriated Soldiers from Palestine, as well as smaller groups lead by former Afghan fighters, in further boosting anti-India sentiment inside Bangladesh, while BNP also was providing direct patronization to various separatist outfits, including United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA). It is well documented that, Pakistani ISI was providing millions of dollars to separatist groups in northeastern states in India, mostly through ARY Group.

In 2014, jailed JMB leader, Salaudin Salehin, who later became the chief of this jihadist outfit, fled to India by escaping from Kashimpur Centarl Jail (Part-1) in Bangladesh. Since then he had joined hands with Pakistan-based notorious militancy group named Lashkar-e-Tayeba (LeT), while Pakistani spy agency ISI began providing fund and logistics to the JMB chief with the agenda of expanding its activities in India. Majority of the Trinamool leaders as well as Mamata Banerjee’s men in West Bengal’s law enforcement and intelligence agencies were fully aware of the presence of JMB kingpin Salaudin Salehin’s presence in West Bengal and his notorious activities, as well as secret connections between JMB and Hizbul Mujahedin (HM). Years ago, Salaudin Salehin, through JMB’s official media “Al-Ehsar” has announced the jihadist group’s India chapter. The Narendra Modi government-designated Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) as a terrorist entity.

Indian intelligence sources say, JMB has plans of establishing its permanent bases within 10 kilometers of the Bangladesh-India borders (on the Indian side) in the districts of West Bengal, Assam and Tripura.

According to Dr. Satish Kumar: JMB used the ethnoreligious links to spread its jihadi channels in West Bengal and Assam. In several cases, JMB has used cross-border marriages to find shelter in West Bengal. Extremist publications have been produced by both IS and AQ in Bengali to mobilize Bengali Muslim youth in efforts to ‘liberate Kashmir’, ‘fight Hindutva’ and ‘establish an Islamic Caliphate in Hind’. Such declarations have been linked to the ‘Ghazwatul Hind’ prophetic narrative which talks of a final battle for the Indian subcontinent.

Dr. Satish further said: Muslims constitute 30 per cent of the West Bengal population and their votes are decisive on 100-110 of the 294 assembly seats, situated mostly in the districts of Kolkata, Murshidabad, Malda and Dinajpur. Mamata-led TMC had retained office in 2016 by winning 204 assembly constituencies with the crucial help of these Muslim-dominated seats. West Bengal’s state government has not been able to check the spread of radical and extremist ideologies. Critics accuse the Trinamul Congress (TMC) party is very soft on extremists because it looks at the Muslim community as a vote bank. The link with terror and TMC was proved in 2014 when an explosion occurred in a house in the Khagragarh locality of Burdwan, West Bengal. The police seized 55 improvised explosive devices, chemicals and equipment. The building was owned by Nurul Hasan Chowdhury, a TMC leader. The ground floor of the building had been used as a TMC party office and an election office in the past.

When a community is used as a vote bank, its social and economic developments get stalled. The same thing happened with the Muslim community in West Bengal. There is limited access to mainstream education in West Bengal’s Muslim majority districts. This void was filled by Madrassas that lacked accountability for and commitment to quality education. TMC has been accused of doing nothing to create access to mainstream education for Muslims. A large segment of the community therefore remains dependent on the madrassas, many of which are outside the oversight of the state. The mushrooming of Madrassas invited the jihadists to flourish in the bordering districts with Bangladesh. The politics of Madrassas has linkages with jihadist.

Islamist militancy in eastern India has increasingly developed in the last two decades. The JMB started its Indian chapter in 2018. JMB originated from the sub-group of a local Salafi movement known as the Ahle Hadis. They have followers in both Bangladesh and West Bengal. In 2018, JMB opened a new wing in India — Jama’atul Mujahideen India (JMI). The group proclaimed its belief in qital [murder of non-Muslims], armed struggle to ‘uproot polytheism and establish Islam’. It also claimed that the Indian subcontinent is a future battlefield to establish the Caliphate as per the Ghazwatul Hind prophecy. The Indian chapter could be used to recruit from the Muslim community in West Bengal and to send them to various parts of India for fundraising and operations.

Authorities in Bangladesh and India should remain extra-vigil about Pakistani ISI’s nefarious attempts of spreading terror. At the same time, people in West Bengal should reject rogue politics of Mamata Banerjee and her Trinamool cronies. No sensible individual can allow radical Islam, militancy and terrorism to grow. We want to live in peace under atmosphere of interfaith harmony.

An internationally acclaimed multi-award-winning anti-militancy journalist, research-scholar, counter-terrorism specialist, and editor of Blitz. Follow his on Twitter Salah_Shoaib

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