Bengal Terror Link?
WWest Bengal has always been sensitive from the national security point of view, as it is has been used by the terrorist groups as a transit route to carry out terrorist activities within the country. But the blast in the Khagragarh locality of Burdwan in West Bengal on October 02 in which two suspected militants were killed and one injured, has proved once again that the terror group are now using Bengal as their manufacturing and storage unit too.
Four persons, including two women, have been arrested so far in the case and all the suspects are Bangladeshi nationals and were on a secret mission of Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh. The involvements of women also ascertain the fact that women are indulged with the terror links and their training is also operational in India.
The confidence of the terrorists have build with time can also be proven from the fact that the terror outfits are not just limited to border districts of West Bengal but they are also using centrally-located districts to operate. A large number of watch dials, SIM cards and other tools required to make improvised explosive devices, hand grenades and large quantities of bomb-making chemicals were seized from the house where the blast occurred, proves that the place was a manufacturing and storage unit for the terrorist outfit. From the house, police has also recovered pamphlets that mentioned al Qaida chief Ayman al-Zawahiri and the words “Mujahideen” and “Chechen Rebels”.
Here, it is important to note that it was in the first week of September when world’s most wanted and the present al Qaida chief Ayman al-Zawahiri made a declaration that its terror outfit is opening up a new branch in the Indian subcontinent. He also added the new branch will focus on India and its neighbours Bangladesh and Myanmar.
The whole incident took a strange turn with the non-cooperating attitude of the state government. The government initially wanted to hide their failure by establishing the blast as a cylinder blast. This was followed by the non-cooperation of the state police when the investigation team of National Investigation Agency (NIA) went to the site with the intention to help the state police. But finally the centre of its own decided to hand over the probe to NIA.
Since October 02, the NIA and the security agencies are discovering arms—ammunition and weapons in and around the blast site every new day. They have sealed three more houses near the vicinity of the blast site, now known as ‘IED factory’ and a cyber cafe from where terrorists used to download manuals to make rocket launchers, indicating that the state is once again turning into a terror logistics hub. The state police is yet to trace the dreaded militants who used to serve as linkmen with the various modules spread over four districts— Burdwan, Birbhum, Nadia and Murshidabad. They used to work under the supervision of three coordinators who are suspected to have crossed the border after the blast.
The political row between the Trinamool Congress on one hand and the CPI(M) and the BJP on the other over the incident has already started. The CPI(M) and the BJP alleged that there are links between the ruling party and the people behind the blast. These allegations have emerged from the fact that a Trinamool supporter owns that building where the blast occurred and Trinamool flags were found inside a room on the ground floor.
Left Front Chairman Biman Bose said, “We have come to know that both the tenants and the landlord of the house at Khagragarh locality, where the explosion took place, are close to the Trinamool Congress. It is an ominous sign for us. It is surprising that the ruling Trinamool Congress is giving indulgence to the banned Muslim fundamentalists, which in turn is posing threat not only to the state but also to the entire nation.”
On the other hand, State BJP Chief Rahul Sinha questioned the silence of Mamata Banerjee over the issue and also alleged that “appeasement policies of the state regime have led to mushrooming of terrorist activities in the state”.
More than a week after the blast in the Burdwan, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee broke her silence. Annoyed by the central government interference either in the form of CBI or CIA, she posted on her Facebook page: “I am in politics since my childhood days, and my public life spans over more than 26 years. I feel like sharing with my Facebook friends that ever since the new government has come to power at the centre, there is an increasing trend of interference by the central government in the state matters. The beauty of federal structure is the jurisdiction of working between the centre and the state and some by both. Primarily, the role of the central government is to deal matters concerning major policies/ decision making issues. It is expected that centre and the states do not encroach upon the areas of activities of others. Now-a-days, the central government tends to frequently and unnecessarily interfere in state matters, which is not at all expected as per our Constitution.”
But before questioning the credentials of the centre or any other parties, Mamata Banerjee needs to see the role of her government, police and administration in addressing the issue that concerns the security of the entire nation.
Now, Bangladesh, whom we often lecture on terrorism, too has found a voice. Human rights activists in Dhaka are raising a point that Mamata Banerjee is playing with the security of South Asia in order to maintain and strengthening her position in Bengal.
The BJP also accused Mamata Banerjee for bringing embarrassment to India from neighbouring countries and the world by allowing extremist outfits such as Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh to operate freely in Bengal. Siddharthnath Singh, BJP National Secretary, who also oversees party affairs in Bengal, also said in a press conference: “There seems to be difference between what she preaches and what she practises”.
He also put forward 10 Questions directly to Mamata Banerjee
- Is It true that JMB operatives were given a safe passage to visit seven madrasas to build a robust network across the state?
- Did your government receive intelligence alerts on September
- 24 to track Sohail Mehfooz, Mohammad Bilal and Mohammad Habibur Rehman, whose names have cropped in connection with the Burdwan Blast?
- Which conspiracy prompted your government to detonate the explosive seized from Burdwan?
- Is it not true that your government and leadership allowed the JMB operatives to send in large number of Bangladeshi infiltrators for the sake of vote bank politics?
- Did you pull out of the trip to Bangladesh in September 2011 along with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the last minute under pressure from some quarters?
- Why was the local police not permitted to raid the madrasas in Shimulia?
- Why did not your government give immediate access to the blast site to the NIA?
- How are the infiltrators from Bangladesh getting voters ID card, pan cards and affidavits from the Magistrates?
- How could some male operatives of the terror network get passport without verifications?
- Why was no action taken against officers/people involved in the racket of issuing unverified passport and other documents?
Although Mamata Banerjee, who has so far chosen to keep mum on this issue in any public rally or in media interaction, had reacted without naming anyone specifically during her speech in Jhargram in West Midnapore district of West Bengal: “Some Mischief mongers are spreading the message of disturbance.
They don’t want peace. Those who want to sow differences do so for narrow political gains. We will not allow Bengal to be divided.”
Now, the Enforcement Directorate are also searching the blast link to Saradha cash. ED official will soon visit Burdwan to investigate whether the money, which some NGO’s received from Saradha Chief Sudipta Sen has been used to fund subversive activities in the state.
The Burdwan blast has also exposed the alarming truth in Bengal. Much is being discussed but seldom put on record, as the transit route for the terrorists. And now it is not remained as a transit route but has become the safe haven and manufacturing hub for this terror outfits.
By Joydeep Dasgupta from Kolkata