A Bangladeshi, believed to be a member of banned militant outfit Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT), was detained in Muzaffarnagar district of India's Uttar Pradesh yesterday.
A team of Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) of India arrested Abdullah Al Mamon, 26, at Kutesara in Charthawal area following a tip-off, our New Delhi correspondent reports quoting Asim Arun, inspector general of state police in Lucknow, capital of Uttar Pradesh.
Police in Bangladesh said Abdullah, of Tarakandi upazila in Mymensingh, left for India in 2009.
Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit officials said Abdullah was not on their list of wanted militants but they were sharing information with their Indian counterparts.
A statement issued by the ATS said during interrogation, Abdullah disclosed that his primary job was to help ABT members get settled in India.
Indian police were searching three districts of Uttar Pradesh to see if there were any ABT sleeper cells there, the statement added.
Abdullah was living in the area for the last one month. He had told his neighbours that he was from Assam.
Before this, he had been residing in Darul Ulum Deoband, a leading Islamic seminary in Asia, in the Uttar Pradesh since 2011, said sources in the National Investigation Agency (NIA) of India.
Uttar Pradesh police chief Asim Arun said, “Abdullah also got his multi-purpose Aadhaar identity card and passport prepared on fake identity.”
He said, “Abdullah is associated with the ABT outfit and was involved in preparing fake identity proofs for terrorists, especially from Bangladesh, and he helped them get safe hideouts in India.”
Police claimed that they recovered four fake stamps and 13 fake ID cards from Abdullah's Muzaffarnagar home and that they were trying to locate those in whose names the cards were made.
Three others were being interrogated in this connection, an NIA official said.
An Al Qaeda inspired Islamist outfit, ABT was banned by Bangladesh on May 27, 2015 for its militant and anti-state activities. It has been accused of a series of attacks on secular writers, bloggers and publishers.
In 2015, the group published a hit-list of international bloggers and activists. Nine of the people named were UK citizens and two were from the USA.
IG Arun said during interrogation, Abdullah told ATS detectives that he used to prepare fake identity proofs with the help of Faizan, a resident of Deoband and a Bangladeshi.
Based on this information, Faizan's house in Deoband was searched but he was not there, the ATS official said.
He claimed that Bangla 'jihadi' literature, literature on how to make bombs, a colour printer and a number of fake IDs were recovered from there.
It has come to light that Faizan was also associated with ABT, said Arun.
Uttar Pradesh Police ATS Additional Superintendent Brijesh Srivastava said hunt was on for Faizan.
Abdullah will be produced before a court today, said police.
CTTC SHARING INFO
“We are exchanging information about Abdullah with the Indian intelligence agencies through informal channels,” said an official of CTTC unit of Dhaka Metropolitan Police.
“We are checking whether he has any links with any of the listed militants particularly Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT) or Ansar Al Islam members,” the official told The Daily Star wishing anonymity.
Meanwhile, Mymensingh Superintendent of Police (SP) Syed Nurul Islam said Abdullah's mother told police that Abdullah started hefzo (memorising the Quran) when he was around seven years old at a local madrasa.
Later, he went to a madrasa in Kishoreganj and then moved to another madrasa in Jatrabari. Before leaving for India he went to another madrasa in Mohammadpur.
Officer-in-Charge Mazharul Haque of Tarakandi Police Station said his mother told police that Abdullah used to call her every few days. He last called her three to four days ago and enquired about her health.
Asked whether police found his link with local militants, SP Nurul Islam said they were yet to get any such information.