On July 28, the Assam Police busted a Jihadi module in the Brahmaputra riverine area (Char) in the middle Assam district of Morigaon at a place called Moirabari. The densely populated Muslim-inhabited area was an obvious choice of the Bangladesh-linked Jihadi module and its masterminds to hide themself from the eyes of the security agencies.
The Assam Police intelligence had information about a Jihadi module running from the far-flung revirine area of Morigaon district and the NIA had also passed on the tipoff. But what was busted by the Assam Police in Moirabari shocked the entire State.
Hand of Bangladesh wing of Al-Qaeda
It was one of the biggest crackdown of Jihadi network by the Assam Police in recent times. On the morning of July 28 it was challenging task for the police team to bust the Jihadi module as it was based in a madrassa located in a densly populated Muslim Char area. A huge team of Morigaon Police headed by SP Aparna Natarajan sealed the Jamiul Huda Madrassa and arrested the Jihadi mastermind Mufti Mustafa, who obtained Islamic education from Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra and was running the madrassa since 2018.
The police investigation has revealed that the idea of these Jihadi modules are to indoctrinate and radicalise the Muslim youth to start subversive activities in the State and as a whole in the country to establish Sharia Law in India
Police investigation revealed that Mustafa was receiving money from Bangladesh-based terrorist organisation Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT) to spread Jihad in Assam. It was found in the investigation that small amount of money was transferred to Mustafa’s account regularly by terrorist organisation ABT’s prime member Amiruddin Ansari alias Hujur. This terrorist was finally arrested by the West Bengal Police. Notably, ABT is the Bangladesh wing of Al-Qaeda in the Indian subcontinent.
Jihadi History in Assam
The first module of Jihadi was busted in Assam in 1999. Terrorist organisation Harkat Ul Mujahideen was trying to set up its base in Assam but it was successfully busted by police and security agencies.
In 2003/04, another Islamic terrorist organisation Harkat Ul Jihad Al Islami (HUJI) was trying to set up its wing in Assam which too was busted by the security agencies. After a gap of six years, another Islamic terrorist organisation Jamatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) tried to induct Muslim youth in their Jihadi modules between 2011 to 2016. But security agencies foiled their attempts to set up bases in the State. The Assam Police also busted Jihadi modules of Hisbul Mujahideen between 2015 and 2020. After 2020, Bangladesh-based terrorist organisation Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT) is trying hard to create several modules in the Muslim-populated districts of Assam.
Top sources of the Assam Police informed us that unlike other terrorists organisations, who were previously trying to set up Jihadi bases in Assam, ABT is not focusing on one module. In fact, the AQIS-affiliated terror group is operating more than six modules in Assam, so that even if one module is busted by the police, other modules are functional at the same time.
Al-Qaeda’s Jihad Module
In the last six months, the Assam Police has busted five modules of Jihadis in the State which were sponsored by Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT) and designed by Al-Qaeda in the Indian subcontinent. These Jihadi modules has been busted by the police on inputs given by National Security Grid (NSG) which includes NIA, IB and State Police Intelligence. The first module was busted in Barpeta district of lower Assam which was a sleeper cell of ABT-affiliated to AQIS on March 4, 2022. Six Jihadis including Bangladesh national Mohammad Suman alias Harun Rashid alias Safiqul Islam were arrested by police. Mohammad Suman is an active member of ABT and he entered Assam via West Bengal in 2018. He was teaching Arabic in Jamiul Huda Islamic Academy in the district.
With the cover of a madrassa teacher, Suman was working on setting up a base for the Islamic terrorist organisation in the State. The Assam Police in its investigation found that like Suman, at least 6 terrorist of Bangladesh entered Assam during the pandemic period and were working silently on indoctinating the Muslim youth of the State toward Jihad and terror ideology. He was also Imam of a Masjid in the Howly area in Barpeta district. The case has been handed over to the NIA by the Assam Government for further investigation to unearth the larger conspiracy. On April 14, 2022, the Assam Police busted the ABT module 2 in Barpeta district. Six Jihadis were arrested by police who were running another sleeper cell of Ansarullah Bangla Team in Barpeta district. Huge Jihadi literature was also recovered by police from the arrested Jihadis. On April 15, Bongaigaon District Police busted third ABT Jihadi module in the State and arrested five terrorists. One Abul Kasim, who is a native of Tripura, was also arrested by security agencies during the operation.
Again on July 27, the Barpeta Police arrested 9 Jihadis and busted the fifth module of Bangladesh-based terrorist group that sponsered a sleeper cell in Assam. One of the arrested Jihadi Dewan Hafizul Islam visited Bangladesh several times and he was the prime linkman between Jihadi modules in Assam and the Bangladesh-based terror outfits. Hafizul used mobile SIM cards of Bangladesh for communication with the masterminds of Jihad based in the neibouring country.
Assam Chief Minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma revealed that high end sophisticated communication devices were used by these jihadi modules. They even used special mobile applications which were not available in India for their internal communication purposes. Another boy from Karimganj district namely Akhtar Hussain was arrested by the Bangalore Police on July 27. Akhtar was in Banglore working as a food delivery boy in the Tilaknagar area of the city with the intention to join Al-Qaeda and was involved in Jihadi modules based in Kashmir. The arrest was made in a joint operation by the Central Crime Branch and Internal Security Division of Bangalore Police. Five others were also arrested by the Bangalore Police in connection with Akhtar.
Important inputs were received by Assam Police that one Mufti Mustafa from Moirabari area of Morigaon district was involved in a financial transaction with Ansarullah Bangla Team. This is the fourth and most dangerous module busted by the Assam Police. With the financial assistance from ABT, Maustafa was running a madrassa in the Char area where 43 students were studying Islamic education. The madrassa run by Mustafa in the interior riverine area was a safe house for Bangladeshi terrorists who visited Assam to spread Jihad in the State.
One of the top leaders of Ansarullah Bangla Team Alamgir was in Moirabari. He took shelter in the madrasa and was working as an Imam of a local Masjid. The Morigaon Police in its investigation found that Darknets were also used by these Jihadi for communication purposes so that the security agencies couldn’t reach them. It was revealed in the police investigation that arrested Mustafa has communication link with all the busted Jihadi modules in Assam and some in West Bengal. He was also in regular touch with the top terrorist leaders of Anarullah Bangla Team based in Bangladesh. Zakir Mahati and Mahbubur, two Bangladesh-based terrorist leaders, regularly transfered money to Mustafa’s account.
CM Dr. Sarma said that it is now confirmed that 6 Bangladesh Jihadis are roaming in Assam to set up a base for Al-Qaeda in the Indian subcontinent. Of these six, one Mohammad Suman was arrested by the police. The other fives are still at large and trying to create Jihadi modules in the State. These Jihadi modules created by the Bangladeshi nationals are not known to each other. The only connecting point between these modules is Mufti Mustafa who was arrested by the Assam Police on July 27. But the worrying fact is that the hub of all these radicalisation and Jihadi activities are madrassas. Most of the arrested Jihadis are either linked with some madrassa or Imam in a Masjid. So far, the police investigation has revealed that the idea of these Jihadi modules are to indoctrinate and radicalise the Muslim youth to start subversive activities in the State and as a whole in the country to establish Sharia Law in India. Interesting the Islamic terrorist organisation took advantage of the pandemic period to penetrate more in the Muslim populas areas in the state. ABT organised armed training camps in Assam during the COVID-19 period which includes Cyber Security, small weapons training and Bomb making.
Jihadi Game Plan
Unlike other terrorist outfits, the Jihadi modules are not aiming to start subversive activities immediately. Their primary aim is to set up bases for Bangladesh-based terrorist outfits Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT) and Al-Qaeda in the Indian subcontinent. Then they try for indoctrinating and radicalised Muslim youth for Jihad as much as possible. Their bigger aim is to establish Sharia Law in India.
Meanwhile, Assam Police DGP Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta said that intelligence has received two videos issued by AQIS where their leader Osman Mahboob asked to spread jihad in Assam. The AQIS also started publishing their mouthpiece in Banga language to penetrate in Bangladesh, West Bengal and Assam. The arrested Bangladeshi terrorist Mohhamad Suman married an Indian girl from Sirang district of Assam. His primary motive was to assimilate into the local society for a longer period. Marrying an Indian girl was only intended to continue his Jihadi activities. Five Bangladesh nationals namely Abu Tallah, Mahbubur Rahman, Alamgir, Abu Issa and another person are absconding in India. They are all involved in Jihadi activities. They entered Assam during 2016/17 and created several modules of Jihadi in the State which were subsequently busted by the security agencies.
The Mumbai, Bhopal, UP connection of Jihad
So far, the Assam Police have arrested 29 Jihadis in the State. Of these, Mohammad Suman arrested in Barpeta and Mufti Mustafa arrested in Morigaon is a big catch for the security agencies. Mufti is said to be the commander of the Jihadi modules active in Assam. He was also the only linkman with the top leaders of terrorist outfits ABT and AQIS in Bangladesh. Mufti is a Islamic scholar having doctorate in Islamic education. He is also a cyber expert and used high end darknet for communication amongst the Jihadi modules in the State. Mustafa took a doctorate degree in Islamic Law from Bhupal in 2017. He studied in Nandurbar in Maharashtra in Jamia Akkalkuwa. He also studied in Jamia Arabia Hathaura in Banda Uttar Pradesh.
Morigaon SP Aparna Natarajan said that Mufti used to visit Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh frequently. Mufti collected huge sums of rupees from various people in Mumbai to run his madrassa. Police are investigating these links of Mufti to unearth the etire Jihadi network active in India.