Bangla Bhai visits West Bengal in 2005 to set up JMB network
Bangla Bhai, who was executed in 2007, visited West Bengal in 2005 and spent three months touring several districts trying to set up a base for the banned militant outfit Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen (JMB) in the state, investigations have revealed.
According to a report in Hindustan Times, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) sleuths learnt how Siddique ul-Islam alias Bangla Bhai prepared the ground for the network that was exposed nine years later while investigating the blast in a house at Burdwan's Khagragarh in October 2014. Two people were killed in the blast.
Bangla Bhai entered India through Dhulian in Murshidabad and settled in the district.
"In 2005, JMB leaders sent Bangla Bhai to Murshidabad as it served a two-fold purpose of preparing the ground for setting up a base for the organisation as well as providing him shelter from the security forces of Bangladesh who were hot on his heels," an NIA officer told Hindustan Times.
NIA has submitted the charge sheet in the Burdwan blast case stating JMB was expanding its network in states such as West Bengal, especially in the districts of Nadia, Birbhum, Burdwan and Murshidabad, Jharkhand's Sahebganj district and Assam and was working towards it for quite some time.
With the discovery of the role of the JMB kingpin, it has now become clear that the efforts started at least nine years earlier.
Bangla Bhai was the military commander of banned outfit Jagrato Muslim Janata Bangladesh (JMJB). He also had wide connections with the JMB as these two organisations were working towards the establishment of a caliphate in Bangladesh.
He also played a big role in spreading the JMB network in Bangladesh. Along with Abdur Rahman, a top JMB leader, Bangla Bhai set up camps in remote areas of the neighbouring country to provide training to use firearms and making explosives.
He was involved in the 2015 simultaneous blasts in Bangladesh targeting judges and lawyers and replace the judicial system with Sharia law. He was eventually arrested in 2006 from his hideout, tried and executed the following year.
The Indian agency has also come to know that Bangla Bhai worked in close coordination with Hatkata Nasirullah, who initiated JMB in West Bengal, in Murshidabad.
"Murshidabad was the first district in Bengal where JMB set up its organisation. Bhai worked in close association with Hatkata Nasirullah, whom we are looking for," an NIA sleuth told the Indian newspaper.
"With his base at Domkal in Murshidabad, Bangla Bhai started contacting other leaders in Murshidabad, Nadia and Birbhum. He told them that days were not far off when the caliphate would be established in Bangladesh and their task would be to spread the idea in the bordering districts of India too," added the NIA officer.
Apart from preaching their ideology, Bangla Bhai asked local leaders to set up camps for providing training in firearms and making explosives. He also assured the local recruits that al Qaeda leaders would help them in this regard, according to the Hindustan Times report.
"During the raids we seized an exercise book from Simulia madrasah where we found that the students were asked to enumerate the similarities between JMB and al Qaeda. The authorities of the madrasah gave the student the highest marks who wrote that JMB is another name of al Qaeda," said the NIA official.