NIA nabs nine “Pakistan-sponsored” Al Qaeda operatives, six from West Bengal and three from Kerala

Published : September 19, 2020 16:40 IST

Alleged Al Qaeda terrorists (from left) Abu Sufiyan, who was among the six held in Murshidabad district of West Bengal, and Murshid Hasan and Mosaref Hossen who were nabbed in Ernakulam in Kerala. Photo: PTI

In a major development, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested nine Al Qaeda operatives from West Bengal’s Murshidabad district and Kerala’s Ernakulam district. The arrests were made while carrying out simultaneous raids in the two regions early on September 19. Six of those arrested are from West Bengal, while three are from Ernakulam. According to the NIA, the nine “terrorists” were “associated with Pakistan sponsored module of Al Qaeda”.

The press release from the NIA stated that “the group was planning to undertake terrorist attacks at vital installations in India with an aim to kill innocent people and strike terror in their minds. Accordingly, the NIA registered a case, No. RC-31/2020/NIA/DLI on 11.09.2020, and initiated investigation.” A Large quantity of “incriminating” materials, including digital devices, documents, jehadi literature, sharp weapons, country-made firearms, locally fabricated body armour and literature used for making home-made explosive devices were seized during the raids.

The arrested include Najmus Sakib, Abu Sufiyan, Mainul Mondal, Leu Yean Ahmed, Al Mamun Kamal, and Atitur Rehman, from Murshidabad; and Murshid Hasan, Iyakub Biswas, and Mosaraf Hossen from Ernakulam. “As per preliminary investigation, these individuals were radicalised by Pakistan-based Al-Qaeda terrorists on social media and were motivated to undertake attacks at multiple places, including the National Capital Region. For this purpose, the module was actively indulging in fund raising and a few members of the gang were planning to travel to New Delhi to procure arms and ammunition,” the NIA stated.

Reacting to the arrests made by the NIA, West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar took a swipe at the State police on social media saying, “State has become home to illegal bomb making that has potential to unsettle democracy. Police @MamataOfficial busy in carrying out political errands and taking on opposition. Those at helm @WBPolice cannot escape their accountability for this alarming decline in law and order.”

According to the Governor, Director General of Police Virendra had told him “West Bengal Police firmly adheres to the path laid down by law. There is no discrimination for or against anyone in an extra legal sense”. Lashing out at his response, Dhankhar tweeted, “How far distanced is DGP @WBPolice from reality is cause of worry. His ‘Ostrich Stance’ is very disturbing. Appreciate role of policemen in general-they r working in difficult situations. Problem is with those at helm who r unmindful of conduct and r politically guided.”

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