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Intel alert on Hefazat radicals fleeing into Assam, West Bengal

By The Assam Tribune
Intel alert on Hefazat radicals fleeing into Assam, West Bengal

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Kolkata, May 5: Indian intelligence has been alerted by their Bangladeshi counterparts about scores of Hefazat-e-Islam militants fleeing into neighbouring Indian states like West Bengal and Assam, which were caught up with conducting polls until recently.

A top official of a central intelligence agency said that Bangladesh's Sheikh Hasina government has initiated a massive crackdown on the Hefazat-e-Islam after the Islamist radical group unleashed a violent campaign opposing Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Bangladesh in March.

More than 50 top Hefazat leaders and some belonging to other Islamist jihadi terror groups have been arrested and nearly 300 donors who paid into Hefazat coffers have been identified. That includes top Hefazat leaders like Mamunul Huq who has reportedly confessed now that his group had set itself the objective of toppling the Hasina government and establishing a Taliban type Islamic state in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh intelligence, with whom its Indian counterparts share excellent information-sharing relations, has told Indian agencies that they have reports that some Hefazat topshots have fled or are trying to flee into Indian states like West Bengal and Assam.

"We take their alerts seriously because fleeing Islamist radicals can easily melt into states like West Bengal and Assam, where the administration and police was until recently focussed on conducting elections. We have alerted state police forces and the BSF to be extra vigilant," the top central intelligence agency official said.

But he was not willing to be named for obvious reasons.

Last week, two militants of the Jamaat ul Mujahideen were nabbed in Assam.

Ruling Awami League politicians in Bangladesh are worried that Hefazat and other Islamist radicals may set up secret sanctuaries in neighbouring Indian states and then launch attacks on Bangladesh targets.

"Even Bangladesh's secular politicians and cultural personalities who visit India for a host of reasons may be targetted by these frustrated Islamist radicals. We appeal to Indian authorities, both Centre and States, to ensure our enemies don't get shelter in India much as our government has ensured anti-Indian elements don't get any shelter in Bangladesh," said Awami Mohila League leader Ayesha Zaman Shimu.

She told IANS if groups like Hefazat, JMB and ABT set up sanctuaries in India, they can surely 'soft Bangladeshi targets'.

"Our people, rich and poor, young and old, visit India for a whole host of reasons all the time. Such people will be very worried if our jihadis find shelter in India," Ayesha said.

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