Interrogation of the two Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) operatives and the Indian arms dealer has revealed some startling facts. Investigations reveal that West Bengal is fast emerging as weapons procuring and transit point for terrorist outfits. With the State having international borders with Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and China further makes West Bengal highly vulnerable.
Incidentally the the three operatives were arrested by the Special Task Force from the Kolkata railway station on Tuesday. The arrested include Samsad Mia alias Tanvir alias Saiful alias Tushar Biswas (26 years) is a resident of Katashola, Moinpur, Sunamgunj, Shylet, Bangladesh; Rizaul Islam alias Riyaz alias Sumon (25 years) of Kasimnagar, Kapilmoni Panchayat, Khulna, Bangladesh and Monotosh Dey alias Mona Da (46 years) of Kholapota, Basirhat, North 24 Parganas, West Bengal. A fake Adhar card in the name of Tushar Biswas was recovered from the possession of Tanvir.
Interrogations has revealed that the Bangladeshi duo after having entered India through Kolkata had visited Rachi and Patna also. They have been in India for the past one and a half years.
A passbook in the name of Tushar Biswas (alias used by Tanvir) from bank of Hyderabad was found in his possession. Reports are that the duo had visited Hyderabad and had even worked in a slaughterhouse in the city.
A fake Adhar Card in the name of Tushar Biswas was also recovered which the sleuths believe was used to open the bank account.
"Prima facie they have been trying to procure arms from West Bengal as they have been contacting different arms dealers here. They had called Monotosh Dey who is an arms dealer to show samples. We nabbed them when Monotosh was showing them samples in the railway station" stated Murlidhar Sharma, Deputy Commissioner, STF, Kolkata. A 7.32 pistol and an improvised single shot were recovered from their possession.
Monotosh Dey who used to go under the name Shyamal De had rented a house in the name of his mother-in-law at Kholapota, Basirhat, North 24 Parganas. He used to live in the house with his wife and mother-in-law. He has told neighbours that he was a businessman dealing in fish.
The recovery of the type of books, incriminating documents, laptops and pen drives have got the STF worried. Handwritten notes of important landmarks of Kolkata including Dharmatala Bus Stand, Sealdah Railway Station, Eden Gardens along with maps are pointers to a nefarious design, feel the STF.
While Tanvir is a civil engineer, Sumon is believed to be an explosive expert. The duo had visited different shops dealing in chemicals in the city. Visiting cards of these shops were found in their belongings.
"The books and documents are mainly on the Al-Qaeda. There are books on how to reconnaissance; a book on explosives and a book on religious speeches in English and Bangla" stated Sharma.
Incidentally, both the Bangladeshi nationals owe allegiance to the Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT,) a Bangladeshi front of the Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS.)
Al-Qaeda had started operations in Bangladesh in 2007 as Jamatul Muslemen. However with funds drying up, Jamatul Muslemen had ceased to operate. It, however, resurfaced in 2013 as ABT.
ABT which is a banned outfit in the past has been implicated in brutal assaults and murders of mainly atheist and secular bloggers.
Interestingly a diary found from the possession of the arrested duo has detailed notes on popular Bangladeshi blogger Farooq Siddiqui.
Incidentally, the three were arrested based on tip-off from the Central Intelligence Bureau. "During Durga Puja we were alerted by the Central IB that some Bangladeshi nationals having terrorist links were trying to sneak into the country or had already sneaked in. We started keeping a close tab on Kolkata and satellite towns. For the past 25 days, there have been combing operations in all public places, railway stations, bus stands. Our sources were activated. Two to three days ago we received confirmed inputs that there were two persons and they had been contacting arms dealers. Finally, we nabbed the two Bangladeshi nationals including the Indian arms dealer from the Kolkata railway station at around 2:30 pm on Tuesday. They had no passport or visa" Sharma had stated.
The Bangladeshi duo has been charged under Sections 467/ 468/471/ 120 B of the Indian Penal Code read with 25 (1A0 of the Arms Act and 14 Foreigners Act. Monotosh Dey has been charged under similar sections except for the Foreigner's Act.
In the past, NIA investigation of the Islamic State (IS) module that was unearthed in India in 2016 and was active in West Bengal had revealed that the module was planning to procure and distribute a large consignment of arms and ammunition from West Bengal. However timely arrest of the operatives had foiled this attempt.