Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to send a stern message to West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday over her perceived inaction on the Burdwan blasts: Shape up or the Centre will intervene in a bigger way.
Authoritative official sources said that Modi’s message will be delivered by national security adviser Ajit Doval, who is due to visit the terror site before he meets Mamata in Kolkata. Doval, a counter terrorism expert himself, is armed with a National Investigation Agency (NIA) report into the October 2 blast in the southeastern Bengal town that have been linked to the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB).
Doval will tell Mamata that the Modi government is intent on fighting both homegrown and externally sponsored terror groups, and that the PM feels that central and state forces should work together. Modi is seriously concerned about linkages of the Burdwan blasts with pan-Islamic terrorism and political developments in Bangladesh, Mamata will be told.
The two people killed while making bombs in the Burdwan house were found to be JMB operatives who intended to transport the devices into Bangladesh and the NIA report says that the JMB, a shadowy organisation formed in 2005, has plans to establish an Islamic state that encompasses Bangladesh and Murshidabad, Nadia and Malda districts of Bengal.
The Centre ordered the NIA, its terror investigation body, to take over the probe into the blasts a week after the event. Mamata, whose government faced a barrage of criticism for its alleged mishandling of the investigation, opposed Delhi’s intervention.
Now, if Modi senses that the state is not cooperating, there is every possibility that the Intelligence Bureau’s counter-terror wing and the National Security Guard hub in Kolkata also get involved in a more proactive way, the sources said.
Doval, on the basis of NIA investigation report, will convey that the Burdwan JMB module was fabricating eight to ten improvised explosive devices (IEDs) per month since late 2011 — around the time that Mamata came to power in the state.
The NIA report states that already five to six consignments of 30-40 bombs have made their way to Bangladesh through a certain Kausar Kadir, who was known to the Burdwan blast accused.
The NIA has also come across mobile phone calls from Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan and UAE to the accused during investigations and point to possible terror linkages with these countries.
Formed in 2005, the JMB, according to the NIA report, has plans to establish an Islamic state that encompasses Bangladesh and Murshidabad, Nadia and Malda districts.
Until now, the NIA has recovered 95 bombs from Burdwan and Birbhum, and four persons have been held in Bengal and a further six in Assam. As many as 12 persons are absconding and are suspected to have fled to Bangladesh. Investigators believe that this is just the beginning.
India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RA&W) is sharing all details with Bangladesh through institutionalised channels. On September 24, Dhaka gave India names of three JMB men—Sohail Mahfuz alias Nasrullah; Zahid-ul-Islam and Salauddin—who were seeking shelter in Bangladesh.
While none of the three have been picked up, Indian agencies have identified Nasrullah as the leader of the JMB in Bengal on the basis of statements from one of the Burdwan accused, who identified him by his missing left hand.
It is learnt that Nasrullah had taught bomb making to Burdwan module after earlier losing his hand in an accidental explosion. Called “Haath Kaata” in Bangladesh, Nasrullah along with Sajjjid and Sadiq have been identified as the main terror trainers who held classes in madrasas in Burdwan, Murshidabad and Birbhum.