On April 1, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested two men, identified as Muhammad Nuruzzaman and Seikh Merazuddin, in connection to the seizure of 81,000 detonators and 27,000 kgs of ammonium nitrate by the special task force (STF) of the West Bengal police at Muhammad Bazar in Birbhum district in July 2022.
Notably, the STF seized the explosive materials from a goods vehicle and arrested three men in July last year. The investigation was later transferred to NIA.
In this regard, the NIA released a press note, dated April 1, 2023. As per the note;
In June 2022, a Tata Sumo car which was found transporting around 81000 electric detonators were intercepted by STF Kolkata. The catch of detonators was seized and Ashis Keora the driver of tata sumo was arrested. Ashis led the police to a stash of illegally stored explosives, including 27000 kgs of ammonium nitrate, 1625 kgs of gelatine sticks and 81,000 detonators.
After the NIA took over the case, initially registered at PS Md Bazaar, in Birbhum in September 2022. The agency made its first arrest in January 2023 with Rintu SK. On March 31, NIA arrested 2 other accused from Raniganj and Kolkata who have been identified as Merazuddin Ali Khan of Bokaro and Mir Mohammed Nuruzzaman of Birbhum. While Mir Mohammad Nuruzzaman had supplied 27000 kgs of ammonium nitrate to Rinku SK Merazuddin Ali Khan had supplied electric detonators and gelatin sticks to Rintu SK.
Further investigations to establish to a source of pilferage of the explosives and other bomb-making material including detonators and gelatin sticks are in progress.
According to the NIA officials, the accused were brought to a session court here on April 1, which sent them to the NIA custody and from there, the arrested accused were taken to the federal agency’s office at Salt Lake for questioning.
Nuruzzaman of Murari in Birbhum used to stay at a rented flat in Rajarhat-Gopalpur. His father-in-law was a businessman and held a licence of explosives, which was later transferred to Nuruzzaman’s name.
Nuruzzaman’s lawyer submitted to the court that the arrested had a valid licence to procure ammonium nitrate. The judge then asked how the accused supplied detonators against a license to procure ammonium nitrate.
While Bengal BJP spokesperson Shamik Bhattacharya said the arrests validate BJP’s concern over Bengal turning into a “safe passage for terrorists”,
How Bengal has become a safe haven for Islamic radicals
Apart from the recent Ram Navami violence or the political violence under Mamata Banerjee’s rule, Bengal has become a hot spot for violent activities. It has also been a ‘safe haven’ for terrorists who illegally lived in the city for years.
Islamist radicals from Bangladesh, especially those belonging to the Jamaat-e-Islami, the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), the Ansarullah Team Bangladesh (ATB) and the Al-Qaeda in Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) – all of them have strong links with Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) – have always found it very easy to slip through the porous Indo-Bangladesh border into Bengal.
The murderer of Bangladesh’s founder Shiekh Mujib-ur-Rehman hid in Bengal for almost 20 years. The killer 73-year-old Majid Ali lived in Kolkata and different districts of West Bengal as a humble, pious teacher, complete with a passport and Aadhaar card confirming his assumed identity for almost two decades.
With subsequent attacks on Hindu religious processions be it Ram Navami or Hanuman Janmostav or even a mere State election, the safety of the state has threat. The above-mentioned terrorist organisations are active in Bengal which can easily be concluded after the arrests of these two accused with such amount of explosives.