India is increasing its anti-terror pitch on the subcontinental platform. It will raise the issue of the presence of masterminds of the July 11 Mumbai serial blasts — Zahibuddin Ansari, Fayaz Kagzi and Rahil Abdul Rehman Sheikh — in Bangladesh during the home secretary-level talks beginning in Dhaka from Thursday.
Home ministry sources said evidence collected during the investigation into the blast have confirmed the presence of the trio in Bangladesh. The reports are conflicting. While some of those accused are suspected to have escaped to Nepal, sources said the trio left for Kolkata on the night of the serial train blasts and subsequently crossed over to Bangladesh.
“The issue certainly tops the agenda. We have some evidence which will be shared with Bangladesh. We expect Dhaka to take some tough measures and arrest these people," a top official said. Several internal parleys have taken place to “exhange notes” on the Mumbai bombers.
The chief of the Anti-Terrorist Squad of the Mumbai Police KP Raghuvanshi had met home secretary VK Duggal nearly a fortnight ago and apprised him of the involvement of Ansari, Kagzi and Rahil — and their subsequent escape to Bangladesh. Later both Duggal and Raghuvanshi briefed National Security Advisor MK Narayanan on the issue and it was decided that the matter would be raised at the home-secretary level talks with Bangladesh.
Officials said while involvement of “Bangladesh-based jehadi elements" involved in some acts of subversion — including the Ayodhya attack in July last year — had come to light, there was enough evidence to suggest that Bangladesh had become a safe hideout for masterminds of the Mumbai blasts.“What is alarming is that Pakistan’s ISI is increasing its activity and supporting the jehadis in Bangladesh. This is the main concern, rather than camps of northeastern militant groups in Bangladesh,” the official added.
The contentious issue of fencing between the “Zero Line and 150 yards” will also figure in the two-day deliberations. However, Dhaka is unlikely to make any concessions on this account. Bangladesh has strongly opposed fencing work in this area. sources said Dhaka is expected to allow greater access to 111 Indian enclaves in its territory.
India is also keen to have a ceremonial arrangement with Bangladesh on the lines of the one between India and Pakistan on the Wagah border. The issue of setting up of eight Integrated Check Posts (ICPs) along the Indo-Bangla border, primarily to check infiltration, will also come up during the talks. Bangladesh will also be asked to set up similar check posts. India will not submit any fresh list of camps in Bangladesh as officials said no new additions had been made to the original list of 172 camps.