Author: Hiranmay Karlekar
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: October 23, 2007
Terrorism of the kind witnessed in the Ajmer bombings, followed by a theatre of the absurd, is a familiar story in the country
One would have called it the theatre of the absurd had the consequences not been so tragic. A terrorist blast occurs; lives are lost; a Bangladeshi link is established; Bangladesh goes into the denial mode; and, we express our firm resolve to put down terrorism. Matters rest there until the next outrage occurs and the entire sequence of events is repeated. It will, therefore, be idle to expect that things will change. Nevertheless, some aspects of the recent blast at the shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti in Ajmer merit careful attention.
It is no surprise that the hand of the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami Bangladesh (Hujib), which has also been responsible at the Mecca Masjid blast in Hyderabad on May 18, 2007, has been discerned in the explosion. According to a report by Praveen Swami in The Hindu of October 14, the mobile phone card used to manufacture the unexploded bomb found at the Ajmer shrine was a part of the seven Subscriber Identification Modules (SIM) bought to set off the Mecca Masjid blast, which killed nine people and injured many more.
If this is significant, so is the revelation that the HUJIB terrorist cell, which executed the Hyderabad explosion, had bought seven SIM cards from West Bengal and Jharkhand weeks before the outrage. Rajasthan Police, according to the report in The Hindu, has discovered that the SIM card found in the unexploded bomb in Ajmer was one of the five bought from a retailer in Malda in West Bengal. The two other cards were bought in Jharkhand.
One has known for a long time that Islamist terrorist groups, operating from Bangladesh, have bases in West Bengal's districts bordering that country -- Malda is one of them -- and fundamentalist leaders cross the border into West Bengal and return to Bangladesh at will.
According to a report entitled "India starts probing Galib's links in West Bengal' in a Bangladeshi paper, The Daily Star (Internet edition) of March 5, 2005, investigations by the intelligence branch of the police in West Bengal had revealed that Muhammad Asadullah al-Galib, Ameer of the extremist organisation Ahle Hadith Andolan Bangladesh (AHAB), had visited several madarsas in the districts of North 24 Parganas, Malda and Murshidabad in West Bengal. But neither he nor his supporters had valid travel documents. According to the report, West Bengal's intelligence branch suspected that he had links with the banned Students' Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and also Jamaatul Mujaheedin India.
According to a report, "Prof Yunus murder probe stalled after 'Shibir link' found", in The Daily Star (Internet edition) of March 20, 2005, one of the four identified murderers of Prof Muhammad Yunus of Rajshahi University -- a liberal scholar steeped in the secular values of the Liberation War -- was an activist of the Islami Chhatra Shibir, the students' front organisation of Jammat-e-Islami Bangladesh (JeBI). He had at least on one occasion jumped bail and fled to India. In fact, he had returned from India three days before Prof Yunus' murder. Indeed, crossing over into this country for shelter seems to be a common practice among leaders of Bangladesh's Islamist terrorist outfits.
According to a report in The Daily Star of March 5, 2005, with the police on his trail, Bangla Bhai had slipped into West Bengal from Bangladesh's Naogaon district in the early hours of March 3. The report said that he would remain in India until returning on receiving the green signals from two Bangladeshi Ministers who had been protecting him.
Nor is it any secret that the continuing flood of illegal migrants from Bangladesh, who have changed the demographic balance in districts like Malda and the political balance in States like Assam and West Bengal, harbour Bangladeshi Islamist terrorists in some of the many areas of the border districts of the two States where they are in an overwhelming majority. Nor is it any secret that virtually nothing had been done to stanch the flow of illegal Bangladeshi migrants who, according to an Intelligence Bureau report quoted by Chandan Nandy in a dispatch entitled "Bangla Migrants Pose Threat: Over 15 Million Now in India", The Hindustan Times of November 7, 2003, numbered over 15 million.
Not surprisingly, India's senior officials and policemen achieve nothing during their high-level talks they periodically hold with their Bangladeshi counterparts and are delighted if the latter talk to them politely. In fact, a Bangladeshi journalist once told to this writer, "What will you do? You will only whine! We will do what we want."