In the decade-long reign of Mamata Banerjee, Bengal has become an epicentre for violent crimes, corruption and destructive confrontational politics. However, the new development suggests that there are more scary and dastardly things going on in Bengal that can erase decades of progress in the state. After a long dilly dallying, the Bengal Police is now finding it hard to dismantle the terror network that is gradually expanding its footprint in the state.
Al-Qaeda is increasing its Jihadi network in Bengal
Even after multiple arrests, Al-Qaeda-linked terrorists continue to wreak havoc in Bengal; it is not slowing down in expanding their Jihadi terror network in several districts. The vicious cycle of arrests and terror threats is slowly becoming a norm in the state.
Recently, four terrorists of Al-Qaeda’s sub-continental branch (Al-Qaeda in Indian Subcontinent or AQIS) were arrested in the state. With these regular arrests, the intelligence departments of the West Bengal Police and the Kolkata Police have realised the growing presence of the terror outfit in the state.
Notably, it is the same dreaded terrorist organisation that carried out the horrific 9/11 terrorist attacks. As per the officers of the Bengal Special Task Force (STF) and Intelligence Branch of the Bengal Police, at least three AQIS modules were created in the state and are actively carrying out terror activities against India. One of these Al-Qaeda modules is working in North and South 24 Parganas. The other two terror modules are active in Howrah and North Bengal.
More than a dozen terrorists are on the run
At least 19 suspected terrorists from three modules have been identified through interrogation of detained militants. Only six alleged terrorists have been arrested, while the remaining 13 suspected terrorists are untraceable. A few days ago, four AQIS linked terrorists were arrested by the STF. Two were arrested from North 24 Parganas, one each from South 24 Parganas and Mumbai.
Among the 13 suspected terrorists on the run, at least three, including Abu Talha, are key figures within the Al-Qaeda organisation in South Asia. All three are Bangladeshi citizens who entered India illegally. It is feared that AQIS suspected terrorists have spread to different parts of India, including West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and several states of South India.
An intelligence officer explained the modus operandi of these terror modules. The officer stated that these Al-Qaeda linked terrorists enter into different states in the garb of migrant workers. They mix with migrant labourers in Bengal and hide among them.
As per STF officials, several suspected terrorists of Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) have entered into other states in the garb of migrant workers which have, unfortunately, put Bengali workers under strict surveillance in other states.
The intelligence officials expect that Al-Qaeda started expanding its network in West Bengal almost three years ago. Earlier, Al-Qaeda terrorists were confined to three districts in South Bengal and two districts in North Bengal near the Bangladesh border.
The JMB module showed its ugly presence in Birbhum when it carried out a terror blast at a madrassa in Khagragarh. Notably, the state law enforcement agencies did not conduct surveillance in many areas in the last two years, which played a crucial reason for all these terror outfits to spread their tentacles.
Ugly politics have allowed anti-social elements to flourish in the state. Crude and desi bombs have been hurdled like flowers on several political rallies and public places. But unfortunately, the Mamata Banerjee government has been emboldening Jihadi elements by dubbing acts of terrorism and violence on general public as rumours, fake news and conspiracies of opposition parties.
The state has become a breeding ground for illegal immigrants like Bangladeshi and Rohingya Muslims that have caused a spike in criminal incidents in the state. However, the latest revelations highlight that letting goons and mafias get away for political gains cost dearly in the long run.
Now, the state is paying with the lives of innocent citizens and progress of the state. It is high time! The terror modules should be crushed with a strict zero-tolerance policy or otherwise that day is not far when the hateful politics of violence and separatism like J&K will take place in West Bengal.
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