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How terror links with madrasas grew as the West Bengal administration slept

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New Delhi, July 03: It was not very long back that the Shia Waqf Board Chairman, Waseem Rizvi dashed off a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to shut down primary level madrasas in order to check the influence of Islamic State on Muslim children.

"...if madarasas are not shut down, about half of the country's population will become supporters of the ISIS ideology in 15 years' time," Rizvi said in the letter.

How terror links with madrasas grew as the West Bengal administration slept

Now the Ministry for Home Affairs has said that it has inputs of terror group, Jamaat ul-Mujahideen, Bangladesh (JMB) using madrasas in Burdwan and Murshidabad, West Bengal for radicalisation and recruitment activities.

The Home Ministry has only reiterated, what both the Intelligence Bureau and the National Investigation Agency has been saying for long. In October 2014, it may be recalled that there was an accidental blast at a house.

The NIA after taking up the probe learnt that the JMB was running a bomb factory. It was in the process of preparing 100s of bombs, which it wanted to transport to Bangladesh and carry out blasts. Further it was also found that the JMB's network was deeply infested as it had under its control several local politicians and the heads of many madrasas in the area.

The government says that the madrasas in these locations were being used to radicalise youth and also recruit into their outfit. IB officials tell OneIndia that the madrasas have mushroomed in West Bengal at a very rapid pace. Their heads are well connected politically and hence most of their activities go un-checked.

An NIA official says that in recent times they have come across many cases, where the funding has been enhanced for madrasas. Funds are coming in from several countries at the behest of Pakistan. These funds are routed through Bangladesh, Dubai and Saudi Arabia, the NIA also learnt.

The JMB has been a problematic outfit and has its strongest modules in Bengal. Recently, it was found that the outfit had tied up with the Islamic State. This development came in the wake of the ISIS appointing a new emir for Bengal and Bangladesh, who goes by the name Abu Muhammad al-Bengali.

Former officer with the Research and Analysis Wing, Amar Bhushan says that one cannot let Bengal slip out of control. This state already has a major illegal immigration problem, he says while adding that they had an estimate of 3 crore such persons living in the state.

During the probe into the Burdwan blast, the NIA found how deep the JMB-Madrasa link had mushroomed. Some officials say that the links were out in the open, but it was always glossed over. This was largely due to political patronage as a result of which many local officials looked the other way.

Speaking of Murshidabad, this place was on the radar of the Intelligence for long.

There was another report of how some locals in West Bengal with the help of illegal migrants from Bangladeshis had planned on declaring azadi in Murshidabad. The Intelligence had picked up information that a group of highly radicalised people were making attempts to take on the establishment.

These persons who were in touch with their handlers in Bangladesh were gradually building a momentum in the area and had decided to declare freedom from India. The Intelligence says that the plan was hatched several years back and it was decided that these elements wanted to declare freedom and fight to merge with Bangladesh.

Secret meetings were held in madrasas and other areas to plan the movement. It was decided to either merge Murshidabad with Bangladesh or remain independent. The plotters had even managed to rope in several like-minded locals into their fold.

The funds too were being raised through various mechanisms that included fake currency peddling and also donations. Bangladesh trained terrorists were preparing for a launch into this region and carry out a series of spectacular attacks. However, there were some tough measures that finally foiled the movement, a highly placed source said.

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