India no more safe for fugitive militants

Md Esaraf Hossain

1st July, 2019 09:00:20 printer

India no more safe for fugitive militants

Most our wanted criminals, including the militants, flee to India and hide their considering it to be a safe haven. But the situation has now changed and many of these fugitives have been arrested by Indian security agencies.

In the face of a massive anti-militant crackdown in Bangladesh, many of the  militants having links to the banned Jamaatul Mujahedin Bangladesh (JMB) or New JMB and Islamic State (IS), fled the country to India to evade arrest, police said, adding that however some of them have already been arrested by their counterparts in the neighbouring country.

On Tuesday, in the West Bengal capital of Kolkata, police arrested four members of  the JMB, three of them from Bangladesh, India media reported.

Based on prior information, Kolkata Special Task Force (STF) arrested two Bangladeshi nationals from the vicinity of Sealdah Railway Station parking lot.

Md Jia-ur-Rahman, 44, and Mamon-ur-Rashid, 33, members of the banned terror outfit New JMB/IS (Islamic State) were arrested on Monday.

“A mobile phone containing photos, videos, Jihadi text and literature and books on Jihad were also seized from them,” said one STF officer.

Their interrogation led to further arrests.

“Another Bangladeshi national Md Sahin Alam, 23, and Robi-ul-Islam, 35, a resident of West Bengal’s Birbhum district, were arrested from the vicinity of Howrah Railway Station on Tuesday.”  Jihadi literature was also recovered from them, he said.

The three were also involved in recruitment and collection of funds for their organization in West Bengal.

The arrested Indian national was also a member of the organization and helped them with finding safe places, recruiting and collecting funds.

“These members were active on the social media propagating their agenda.”

Earlier, on August 6, last year, India’s National Investigation Agency also arrested one of the most wanted militant bomb expert Zahidul Islam Mizan alias Boma Mizan in India.  He was wanted there for his alleged involvement in the Bodh Gaya explosion in Bihar.

In initial interrogation by the NIA, “Boma” Mizan revealed that the group led by him had planned to cause IEDs explosion at Bodh Gaya to “avenge the atrocities on Rohingyas in Myanmar”.

He also said Mizan had been residing in Bengaluru since 2014 at different places on rent and was selling clothes as a hawker to conceal his identity.

In Bangladesh, he has been sentenced to different terms in prison, including for life, on various charges.

The Rapid Action Battalion arrested Mizan, the most wanted JMB explosives expert from Jamalpur Sadar, in 2009.

In 2014, an armed gang ambushed the prison van and snatched Mizan and two other dreaded JMB militants Salauddin Ahmed alias Salehin and Rakib Hasan Russell alias Hafez Mahmud.

Since then, Mizan, and Salehin, now the chief of mainstream JMB, had been hiding in India, according to Bangladesh law enforcers.

Hafez Mahmud was arrested and killed in a “gunfight” with law enforcers within five hours of the incident.

Police announced Tk 500,000 reward for information leading to Mizan’s arrest.

He is said to have received training in bomb-making from Nasrullah and Mollah Omar of JMB after being drafted into the group following his background in violent student politics.

He was sentenced to life in prison for his involvement in a bomb attack on a court in Chattogram in October, 2005.

According to the Police headquarters, through Bangladesh foreign ministry, a letter has recently been sent to Indian foreign ministry, to extradite ‘Boma Mizan’.

But no formal information is available about it.

But NIA has reportedly informed the Bangladeshi intelligence branches that they can come to India to talk to Mizan anytime if they think.

On March 27, this year, two people stated to be Bangladeshi nationals with alleged links to militant outfit Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen and ISIS have been arrested near Patna railway station in India’s Bihar.

Anti-Terror Squad of Bihar police identified the duo as Khairul Mandal and Abu Sultan from Jhenaidah district and claimed they are associated with JMB and Islamic State Bangladesh.

A statement from them claimed to have found in their possession photos pertaining to deployment of security forces in Jammu and Kashmir post Pulwama terror attack by Jaish-e-Mohammed in which 40 Indian paramilitary personnel were killed on February 14.

Besides, pamphlets and posters of ISIS were found from them when they were arrested,  the statement said.

The two had entered India without any legal document and had procured fake voter identity cards, the statement said, adding they were tasked by the head of JMB to induct Muslim youths into the outfit.

They had visited Kolkata, Kerala, Delhi, Patna and Gaya for inducting Muslim youths besides carrying out a recce of Buddhist shrines to execute their terror plan, the ATS said.

The two told the police that they wanted to join ISIS and had stayed in Gaya for 11 days for the purpose, the ATS statement said.

On the other hand, some top home-grown militant kingpins including sacked Major Zia, Saleheen, mostly expert in making bombs, firing sophisticated arms and throwing high-powered grenade are on the run without any trace so far.

It is suspected that they have fled the country and taken shelter in India.

Intelligence sources said the runaway leaders and activists of militant outfits including the JMB, Harkatul Jihad (Huji), Ansarullh Bangla Team and Hizbut Tahir are trying to regroup for carrying out subversive acts.

“They (militants) are collecting various sophisticated arms and ammunition from foreign militant groups to carry out fresh attacks in the country, the source added.  

Law enforcers are hardly working to net the runaway activists of these banned militant outfits, said Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Commissioner Asaduzzaman Miah. 

Though the law enforcers arrested some of the militant activists recently, but many of the listed militants including JMB sacked army major Zia and Saleheen remain still on the run.

 These fugitive kingpins of different militant outfits are allegedly masterminds behind the recent militant attacks including in Gulshan and Shulakia, police said.