The 21st Century Phenomenon


HUJI-B, Lashkar-e-Toiba, and al-Bader, a new group, are on the list of terror organizations using the “safe corridor” of Kolkata to enter India.  The safe corridor refers to a region in Northern West Bengal, the province which stretches on the border between India and West Bangladesh, and the Indian province of Jharkhand. A strong Maoist underground is operating there with a degree of support from local villagers who generally are very suspicious and uncooperative with the Indian authorities. The difficulty police is facing in the region is used frequently to smuggle the Bangladeshi border in and from India. 

Poor intelligence network and a total lack of coordination between security and intelligence agencies in India have already led to several embarrassments in the past.

Blueprints of blasts across the country have been drawn out in the “safe corridor”. Terrorists have come to Kolkata, taken shelter and left for the attack venue. The arrest of Shahwaz Ismail, a Pakistani national and Al-Bader member, on Thursday 03/19/2009, follows the same pattern. Shahwaz Ismail’s arrest came exactly 13 days after Lashkar-e-Toiba operative Abu Taher was picked up from Narkeldanga, in the outskirts of Kolkata. Like Shahwaz Ismail, Abu Taher had also sneaked into India and was en route to another destination.

“This is the same old story of Kolkata being a safe transit point. Arrests have been carried out in the past and modules broken, but that has not stopped this intrusion,” said a senior police officer.

One of the most glaring examples of intelligence failure was the arrest of Mohammed Zahid Abdul Majid, an accused in the Malegaon Bombings. He was arrested by Mumbai Police’s Anti Terrorist Squad and the agencies in Kolkata had no clue about him. Majid turned out to be a key Lashkar-e-Toiba man, who had been to Bangladesh several times, escorted terrorists to Bengal, given them shelter and safe passage outside the state.

Similarly, Golam Mohammed Dar, a 45-year-old Kashmiri, was arrested from Nadia’s Chapra, situated close to the Bangladesh border. Golam Mohammed Dar was suspected to be an ISI agent involved in fake currency rackets. It was suspected that he used to provide money and shelter to terrorists crossing over to Bengal from Bangladesh.

In the arrests made across the country, each had a Kolkata link. For example: Jalaluddin alias Babubhai, who was involved in major blasts such as the Samjhauta Express and Varanasi Bombings was an accused in the Partha Pratim Roy Burman abduction case. Babubhai was the head of HuJI’s operations in India.

“Like Ismail, we are also tracking some other terrorists who have sneaked into the country. Vigil has to be strengthened along the border, or else such activities will continue,” said an Indian senior police officer.


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