ISIS plotting attack during Buddha Purnima

Anita Mathur

Female bombers of Jamaatul Mujahedin Bangladesh (JMB), posing as devotees may commit suicide attack on Buddhist Temples in Bangladesh or West Bengal in India during the Buddha Purnima, which will be celebrated on Saturday, May 18, 2019. In a similar pattern, female suicide bombers of Islamic State (ISIS) or other jihadist groups may attack Hindu temples in West Bengal in India during the month of Ramadan.

According to counter-militancy experts, members of ISIS or other jihadist groups may adopt newer tricks of smoothly entering Buddhist or Hindu temple by pretending as devotees and launch attacks. Some of these bombers may hide the bombs in their abdomen by pretending as pregnant to deceive eyes of the security and law enforcing agencies.

Experts said, several jihadist groups, with the active support from Pakistani espionage agency Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) as well as other jihadist patrons are desperately trying to launch series of attacks in ‘Bengal’ (Bangladesh and West Bengal) to prove the rise of radical Islam and jihadism in South Asia. Following the Easter Sunday attacks in Sri Lanka, there is a growing perception about ISIS being gradually expanding its network in South Asia, which poses potential threat to the regional and global securities.

Meanwhile, it has been reported in Bangladeshi and international media, a sacked military officer has been plotting to oust the democratically elected government in Bangladesh with the nefarious agenda of establishing Caliphate. This man named Md. Shahid Uddin Khan along with his wife Farjana Anjum and daughters Shehtaz Murashi Khan and Parisa Pinaz Khan are long-time funders of ISIS.

Md. Shahid Uddin Khan (Army No: BA002428, Course: 8-BMA, Commission Date: 10-06-1983), who along with his wife Farjana Anjum and daughters had smuggled out millions of dollars from Bangladesh and invested in various business ventures in United Arab Emirates and United Kingdom.

In 2009, he invested two million pounds in the United Kingdom in exchange of obtaining immigrant status under Visa Tier 1, vide VAF No. 511702. Later the family had laundered an unknown amount of money and brought that into the United Kingdom.

On January 17, 2019, Dhaka residence of Md. Shahid Uddin Khan was raided by the members of the Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit of Bangladesh Police.

CTTC, based on secret information, raided House No. 184, Road No. 2, Baridhara DOHS in Dhaka, Bangladesh on January 17, 2019. This house is owned by Md. Shahid Uddin Khan and was allegedly used as a warehouse for arms, explosives and propaganda materials of Islamic State (ISIS). During the raid, large volume of weapons, detonator, counterfeit Bangladesh currency notes and jihadist materials of ISIS were recovered by the CTTC unit.

Following this recovery, three separate cases against ISIS-funder Md. Shahid Uddin Khan, his wife Farjana Anjum, daughters and other accomplices were lodged. The cases are: Cantonment PS, Case no 10, Section-6(2)/7/11/12 of Anti Terrorism Act 2009 (amendment 2013); Cantonment PS,  Case no 11, Section-25-A,  Special Power Act 1974; and Cantonment PS, Case no 12, Section-19-A of Arms Act 1878.

According to media reports, four months before the Sri Lanka attacks, ISIS funder Md. Shahid Uddin Khan had sent large amount of money to his Colombo-based jihadist contact via Dubai. Khan has been living in the United Kingdom for last few years along with his family. Sitting in Britain, Khans are continuing various forms of jihadist activities. Recently he has established an organization named ‘Astha’ which aims at unseating democratically elected governments in the world and replace those with Caliphate. By now, Md. Shahid Uddin Khan already has expanded his activities in Sweden and the United States through two of his recruits.

In January this year, Md. Shahid Uddin Khan used illegal channel in transferring an amount equivalent to ninety-two thousand dollars. This amount went from Dubai to Colombo.

Recently, Islamic State (ISIS), through one of its channels has openly threatened of launching attack either on Bangladesh or West Bengal in India. Intelligence agencies in both the countries have taken the matter seriously and are trying to know further details on this matter. But, according to counter-militancy experts, South Asian intelligence agencies are not fully capable of either understanding the broader impact of such threats nor in initiating due measures in preventing the same. Although senior officials of the counter terrorism unit of Bangladesh Police had already trashed the possibility of ISIS attack in the country, experts say, such over-confidence always may turn into a blunder. Authorities in Sri Lanka had ignored an intelligence report about possible ISIS attacks, and we are aware of the result. For effectively countering militancy or jihadist threat, ever nation needs to initiate effective measure.

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