Jihadist plotting terror attacks on India during Durga Puja

Anita Mathur

UPDATE: Members of jihadist and separatist outfits may enter the puja pandals and Hindu temples hiding explosives beneath sarees. There might even be mass ramming of people through large vehicles.

Pakistani ISI-patronized Jihadist outfits are plotting series of bomb attacks on a number of temples within West Bengal and adjacent areas during the upcoming Durga Pura, the largest religious festival of Hindus. This terror plot was revealed when an intelligence agency intercepted telephone conversation between one of the members of Islamic State in India and a Dubai-based Pakistani national named Akhlaq Qamar. According to information, Qamar has been working as a deep-covered agent for Pakistani spy agency Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) and is suspect to be one of the prime handlers of counterfeit Indian currency. He also was having regular contacts with a number of Bollywood actors and had intimate relations with Mamata Kulkarni.

For the past several months, there have been regular communications between Islamic State in India, Hizbul Mujahedin and Jamaatul Mujahidin Bangladesh (JMB). Notorious jihadist Salauddin, who currently holds a key position in JMB is reportedly maintaining liaison with Pakistani ISI as well as jihadist outfits. In 2014 Salauddin, a condemned convict fled a prison van near Mymensing district in Bangladesh and crossed the border. Since then he has been living in India. It is further learnt that Salauddin is constantly changing his location while he mostly stays in the northeastern states.

A new nexus of jihadists and separatists

For the past several years, a secret nexus is being built between the jihadists in India as well as separatist groups such as the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA). Sitting in an unknown place, Paresh Baruah, one of the kingpins of ULFA has been coordinating with Hizbul Mujahedin, JMB and Islamic State in India with the notorious agenda of staging subversive activities.

A source told this correspondent that since 2016, Paresh Baruah has been using a Pakistani passport with a pseudonym. He also is trying to reorganize ULFA with the help of a number of “guerillas” of the separatist outfit within Assam state.

According to an intelligence source, Akhlaq Qamar was heard telling the members of Islamic State in India of taking “preparations” to give “a befitting response” to Indian government’s recent decision centering Jammu and Kashmir.

Meanwhile, analysts say as the fallout from India’s decision to revoke the autonomy of Kashmir in early August continues, recent weeks have also seen troubling signs emanating from the oft-forgotten, Naga-inhabited regions in the far north-eastern corner of India.

Peace talks with Nagas pushing for independence, which has been going on for more than two decades, recently entered rocky waters. India’s decision to revoke Article 370 and 35A of the constitution that guaranteed Kashmir’s autonomy has added fuel to an existing sense of unease over the peace process to end India’s longest insurgency.

The Naga demand for independence began when the British first arrived in the 1840s, introducing a limited and partial system of rule. As India’s independence in 1947 loomed, the Nagas feared they would become subsumed within India’s political setup and that their unique local identity and culture would be eroded. This fueled demands for a Nagaland independent from India, with militants of the Naga National Council (NNC) turning to violence in the mid-1950s.

Since then, there have been decades of bloodshed, factional feuding and failed attempts at striking peace deals, including creating the state of Nagaland in 1963 and granting its citizens a series of special privileges under Article 371(A) of India’s constitution.

The most notorious of these failed attempts at peace was the 1975 Shillong Accord. The short agreement contained very little of substance beyond a commitment to negotiations and was widely perceived as the work of a small faction within the NNC. It prompted the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) to break away from the NNC and take up arms again.

Despite a major split in 1988 and multiple further breakaways since NSCN factions continue to play a powerful role in the politics of the region.

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