Indian and Bangladesh media are publishing breaking news centering possible threats of Islamic State (ISIS) attacks during the Buddha Purnima, without knowing the fact that the alert issued by Intelligence Bureau (IB) is nothing but a follow-up of the detailed report published in Blitz on May 1, 2019, which was filed in my byline.
According to Indian news channel Zee News and International Business Times, West Bengal is on high alert after an Intel agency has warned of the possibility of terror attacks on the occasion of Buddha Purnima on Sunday, May 12 [The Intelligence Bureau (IB) even copied the types of Blitz as the date of Buddha Purnima was typed May 12 instead of May 18]. The warnings came ahead of the sixth phase of the Lok Sabha 2019 elections which is on Sunday. The alerts issued by the Intelligence Bureau (IB) states that a possible fidayeen attack might be carried out by Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) or Islamic State (ISIS).
Along with the warning, IB mentioned that the attacks might be carried out in Hindu or Buddhist temples by fidayeen, who could be impersonating as a pregnant lady in undivided Bengal – which includes India’s eastern state of West Bengal and Bangladesh.
The Government of West Bengal received an alert on Friday afternoon from the Central Government. According to sources in the intel agency, the attack might take place in West Bengal or Bangladesh, reports Zee News.
In the aftermath of the Sri Lanka attacks, Bengal should take precautionary measures to avoid the sort of unpleasant events that have unfolded in the neighbourhood.
The West Bengal Police has reportedly beefed up security across the Hindu and Buddhist temples in and other parts of the state after receiving inputs from the Intel agency.
On April 27, a Bengali poster was released by a pro-Islamic State Telegram channel which had these two words – “SHIGHROI ASCHHE [coming soon]”. International Business Times had reported the story on the given date. The poster was reportedly hugely circulated and also had the logo of a group named Al-Mursalat.
Earlier, the National Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ) came under scanner for possibly carrying out Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka. The NTJ had close links with the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen India unit. Sri Lankan state minister of defence Ruwan Wijewardene had earlier said the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen India (JMI), a unit of the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh or JMB, may have had a role in Sunday’s bombings.
However, there is very little information on JMI’s activities in India. But, there have been several reports that indicate its presence in India. In February, two members of the JMB were arrested from West Bengal’s Murshidabad district.
Indian intelligence agency copies Blitz report:
Although Intelligence Bureau (IB) in India has issued the alert on May 11, 2019, after 10 days of the matter reported in Blitz in details on May 1, 2019, none of the news outlets have mentioned Blitz as the main source of this news.
Commenting on Indian IB’s such delay in taking note of such crucial information, counter-militancy experts said, “This is a matter of grave concern and the lethargy of the Indian intelligence in alerting the nation after such a long period clearly puts India’s national security at stake especially at a time when South Asian nations are being threatened by Islamic State”.
It may be mentioned here that, Blitz is considered as the most influential newspaper in the world with a number of counter-militancy experts who are regularly contributing in it on this issue. Recently, editor of this newspaper and internationally acclaimed anti-jihadist journalist Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury has written a number of research-oriented articles on the possible threats posed by Islamic State in South Asia. His article titled ‘India is at risk of infiltration by Islamic State’ or ‘How ISIS fighters are entering their home countries in disguise’ are of immense importance. Counter-militancy and counter-terrorism organizations need to carefully study these articles.
Retired intelligence official and columnist Damsana Ranadhiran said, “Blitz is the truest example of investigative journalism. Here people are vigorously monitoring activities of the radical Islamic militancy outfits. Reports published in this newspaper are not only accurate but also it tries to incorporate as much as information it could in each of the reports. In today’s world, Blitz is one of the best sources of information particularly on the activities of the jihadist forces”.
Commenting on the alert issued by Indian Intelligence Bureau (IB), Mr. Ranadhiran said, “They should have acted much quicker as this report appeared in Blitz on May 1, 2019”.