JMB emerging as a threat to south India, officials say
After its attempt to create a base in West Bengal’s Burdwan failed in 2014, Bangladesh-based terror outfit Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) has once again emerged as a potential threat, this time in south India, two senior National Investigation Agency (NIA) officials familiar with the development said.
The federal anti-terror probe agency on Tuesday recovered material used in making improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, from JMB’s hideouts in Bengaluru. It recently registered a case to investigate the activities of JMB in southern India following inputs that its members had engaged in robberies to collect funds for their terror plans, the officials added.
At least, 3-4 robberies in Bengaluru, linked to JMB operatives, are currently being examined by the agency; and their leader in India – Jahidul Islam alias Kausar -- is being interrogated.
“JMB, following a major crackdown in Burdwan by us in 2014 in which over 50 of its members were caught in West Bengal and Assam, failed to carry out terror attacks in that region. Kausar, who was instrumental in formation of JMB training camps, procuring explosives in 2014 for making over 100 bombs and planning the Bodhgaya blast in January 2018, had moved to Bengaluru and he was reviving the outfit. But even after his arrest in August last year, it seems somebody is furthering the activities of JMB in south India,” one of the officers cited above said on condition of anonymity
The agency took Kausar’s custody on September 19 again, and Tuesday’s recovery was made on the basis of his interrogation.
“JMB terrorist Jahidul Islam alias Kausar disclosed during questioning that after the 2014 Burdwan blast, he and his associates went to southern India to escape the agencies on their trail. On the basis of his identification, hideouts at Atibele, Kadugodi, K R Puram, Chikkabanavara and Shikaripalya, Electronic City in Bengaluru were raided from where incriminating articles for the preparation of IED and grenades were recovered,” said an NIA statement issued on Tuesday.
“...two cuboid shaped batteries wrapped with plastic tape and electrical wire, one capacitor, three switches, one micro lithium cell, one plastic transparent box containing black colour chemical wrapped in a white paper, hand gloves, identity cards, rent agreement of one of the hideouts, handwritten letters in Bengali , one digital camera and silver articles looted during robberies committed in Bengaluru in 2018, have been seized by NIA,” it said.
Kausar also identified places in Krishnagiri hill, in Tamil Nadu (near the Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border) where he, along with his JMB associates — Habibur, Arif (a Bangladeshi national) and Fahim alias Fahad, had allegedly test-fired three rockets using a crude device during June-October 2017, the agency said. He also identified the place where they had concealed the remnants of the third rocket shell after the test-fire, according to NIA.
“From this place, NIA seized remnants of explosive materials such as eight batteries of 1.5 volt each, a hollow cylindrical carton used for launching the rocket shell and pieces of electrical wire,” it added.
The outfit was banned by the ministry of home affairs in May this year. JMB’s top leader in Bangladesh is Salahuddin Salehin; Kausar looked after its India operations.
Not only has the group used Indian soil for hideouts in West Bengal, Assam, Jharkhand and other regions but it is “quietly” carrying out subversive activities like collection of funds and recruitment of vulnerable Muslim youngsters into the fold of JMB, imparting training to them and motivating them to make hand-made weapons like bows and arrows and radicalizing them to fight against of other communities within India, according to the NIA.
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