Mithilanchal in the grip of jehadis-II
Barh Samaila, the small dusty hitherto known Muslim dominated village, has its share of terror and in some sense it has outmatched Saraimir village of Azamgarh district in Uttar Pradesh that once remained in the headline of daily dispatches with number of arrest cases of suspected terrorists. Once a cradle of learning, Mithilanchal now lies discarded in its ruinous wake, the exhaust has gagged the song that poet laureate Vidyapati sang. Bhatkal, and the alleged flowering of his modules, have become the preferred standard of discourse — it is seeding the countryside with the prospect of a frightening outcrop.
Shankerdeo Jha from Darbhanga/Madhubani
The peace loving Mithilanchal, region of Bihar has never remained in the news for such wrong reasons as today. The successive Governments of Lalu Prasad and his wife Rabari Devi ignored security threats in their bid to stay in power. That time IB had sent a detailed dispatch over an influential RJD leader in Darbhanga who had connections with Dubai and D Company. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar of the JD (U), the man who embarrassed Bihar by calling LeT terrorist Ishrat Jahan as ‘daughter of Bihar’, proved himself worse than Lalu and Co.
A case study of arrests made in last seven years from these two districts is itself a story.
2006, Mumbai ATS arrested Mohammed Kamal Ansari from Basopatti village, Madhubani, for Mumbai serial blasts.
2007, Mohammed Sabauddin aka Farhan, a Madhubani resident, was arrested from Lucknow for Rampur CRPF camp attack and firing at a Jaipur science conference
2008, UP ATS arrested Mohammed Khalil, a Madhubani resident, from Lucknow for the Delhi blast
2009, LeT operative Omar Madani of Basopatti, a Madhubani resident, was arrested from Delhi
2010, Rampur CRPF camp attack accused Mohammed Sabauddin was arrested from Gandhwari, Madhubani.
2011, IM operatives Ghayur Ahmed Jamali (Madhubani) and Mohammed Ajmal (a resident of Karachi in Pakistan) were arrested from Madhubani.
2011, IM operative Irshad Khan, a Samastipur resident, was held by Special Cell in Chennai
2011, IM operatives Gauhar Aziz Khomaini (Darbhanga) was arrested from Chennai and Qateel Ahmed Siddiqui (Darbhanga) was arrested from Delhi in Jama Masjid blast. Qateel suspected to have opened fire at Taiwanese tourists outside Jama Masjid in besides his involvement in the blasts at Chinnaswamy Stadium and the German Bakery in Pune.
2011, Abdur Rahman from Darbhanga was arrested from Chennai.
2012, IM operatives Naqi Ahmed Sheikh (22) and Nadeem Akhthar Sheikh (23) of Jale in Darbhanga district were arrested by Mumbai ATS in 13/7 bomb blast in Mumbai. Both were indoctrinated by Bhatkal.
2012, an alleged Indian Mujahideen man Kafeel Akhtar arrested by Karnataka Police from Darbhanga. He is a suspect in 2010 case of blasts outside Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore.
2013, Mohammad Danish Ansari of Chakjohara locality of Darbhanga was arrested for providing shelter to Bhatkal in Darbhanga and conspiring many a terror attack.
The list is exhaustive and frightening but more frightening facts are emerging from villages like Barh Samaila village of Darbhanga that have got dubious distinction as terror factory, which supplied good number of recruits to Islamic jehadis. Between November 2011 and May 2012 four boys — Gauhar Aziz Khomaini and Qateel Ahmed Siddiqui (who was later killed in Pune jail), Kafeel Akhtar and Fasih Mehmood were picked by security agencies from this village and other places with concrete evidences of they being either mastermind or conduces to many terror attacks in the country. Fasih Mehmood, a Saudi Arabia-based engineer from Barh Samaila village, was deported back to India who according to security agencies is Bhatkal’s right hand.
Mithilanchal’s syncretic history, grand literary traditions and hospitality are in an ominous shambles. Once a cradle of learning it now lies discarded in its ruinous wake, the exhaust has gagged the song that poet laureate Vidyapati sang. Bhatkal, and the alleged flowering of his modules, have become the preferred standard of discourse — it is seeding the countryside with the prospect of a frightening outcrop.
“Pata nahi apne hi desh ki mitti ko khoon se lal kar dena inke atma ko kaise manjoor hota hai… lagaam nahin lagi to gaon-gaon mein Pakistan banega. Chhoriye Vidyapati-Fidyapati ko, Bhatkal ki baat keejiye. Ab dekhiye ab unke samarthan me khuleam rally bhi ki jaa rahi hai (Don’t know how their conscience allows them to bleed the nation… if they are not reined in, each village will turn into a Pakistan. Forget the Vidyapati, talk about Bhatkal. Now see rallies are being organised in their support),” said a retired teacher Ramakant Jha.
On May 30, the newly found Muslim Beradri Carvan held a rally at Darbhanga against arrests of Muslim youths from Mithilanchal. Secularists had come open to pay homage to culprits — Gauhar Aziz Khomaini and Qateel Ahmed Siddiqui—and even visited Barh Samaila during the last rites of the duos.
The known suspects of secular politics — the Congress, RJD and the ruling Janta Dal (United) are nervously perched on the fence, twiddling with the vote calculus. “Dekhiye Nitish Kumarji ne Ishrat Jahan ko beti ka darza de hi diya hai ab chunaw aate aate wah Bhatkal ko damad ka darza de denge. Wah pahale bhi Kafil Akhtar ke giraftari par rosh jata chuke hain, (See, Nitish Kumar has already granted Ishrat Jahan, the honour of being the daughter of Bihar and let election come, he will call Bhatkal as son-in-law of Bihar. He has already expressed displeasure over the arrest of Kafil Akhtar by Karnataka police,)” former ABVP leader and BJP legislator Harendra Pratap quipped. Pratap’s cry is getting free run of the field.
But the JD (U) isn’t the only party gripped by perilous ride of vote bank politics. The Congress is at best appeasing Muslim fundamentalists. Party’s national general secretary and Madhubani MP Shakeel Ahmed rather justified IM and its anti-national acts when he twitted that the Gujarat riots created—IM.
Ahead, 2014 general elections Nitish Kumar seems to have darted ahead patience to outmatch his rivals even to an extent that Bihar police did not try to take Bhatkal on remand even knowing Bihar remained key operational area of Bhatkal. Probably Nitish Kumar thought that taking Bhatkal on remand would upset his Muslim vote bank.
Even educated section of Muslims in Mithilanchal is worried over growing number of arrests. But it has not kept its mind close. “It gives a wrong sense that entire Muslim community is anti-national which is not true. But why will police pick innocent only? Why not I or my son has been arrested? We don’t associate ourselves with these fundamentalist? Something has gone wrong, which nobody is noticing. Fundamentalists are alluring youths with easy money and dreaming them of jehad,” a bank employee Irshad Khan said.
Last week NIA team again brought Bhatkal back to Darbhanga where he once lived and camouflaged himself as Doctor Sahib. The team took him to Sara Mohanpur, Bhigo, Abhanda, Urdu Bazar, Chakjohra, Syednagar, Karamganj, Shivdhara and others. Bhatkal was taken to Algera Public School at Karamganj area ,which he used to frequent during his stay there. The team quizzed director of the school; Omar Farook, teacher Md Ehsan, and Md Khalid who had rented his house to Bhatkal. Here in the school library he used to hold meeting with youths with his friend Qateel Ahmed.
Bhatkal was taken to Sara Mohanpur where he had lived in a Hindu mohalla for some months. Locals of Sara Mohanpur attested that Bhatkal was beaten by locals after he tried to allure a Hindu girl for marriage. Bhatkal had to escape from this place. He was staying at the house of Mohammed Arif at Sara Mohanganj in 2007. It was at this rented house NIA sources said the conspiracy of 13/7 blasts was hatched. They had even tested their bombs at a mango orchard there. NIA is looking for another key associate of Bhatkal, Md. Kalam alias Belal of Pandaul under Madhubani district.
Not very far from the hustle bustle is a village Deora Bandholi, under Jale block in Darbhanga district. Naqi Ahmed Sheikh and Nadeem Akhthar Sheikh are the two bad patches on this village and area which once produced India fame Muslim scholars and experts in Islamic jurisprudence like late Qazi Mujahid-ul-Islam Qasmi.
Qasmi’s teaching, we are reliably told, focused on modern outlook of Muslim community. Today, his teaching has just been rendered as figment of his fantasy. Rest in peace, Qasmi, there’s a war rumbling over your memory: fundamentalists are back dealing blows on very syncretic culture of this beautiful land.