ICG Report reveals Indian connection to JMB - Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh

ICG Report reveals Indian connection to JMB - Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh



The report recently published by the International Crisis Group on the resurgence of the JMB reveals that it maintained extensive contacts within India up to 2008. Unfortunately the ICG fails to follow-up on any of these leads which might have disclosed contacts with Indian government agencies.  The ICG report also failed to see explain the obvious contradiction in its finding that while the JMB, "has shown no interest in the global jihad, it nevertheless maintains contacts with a wide range of local and international jihadi groups." The report never questions whether this self-imposed limitation undermined its credibility with other Jihadi groups such as HuJi (B) and L-e-T since JMB leaders have often denounced other militant campaigns such as in Kashmir (see The India Doctrine - First Edition page 60; Naya Diganta – Sheikh Rahman believes in Akhand Bharat (March 31, 2006); Holiday – Resurfacing of Islamist Jihadis: Alarm bell for security (June 23, 2006)). The following are short extracts and quotations from the ICG report which discloses the JMB connection to India and the groups apparently sympathetic attitude towards the neighboring country  which makes its militant Islamist agenda appear highly dubious and suspect –

PAGE 3

Abdur Rahman … [after] returning later the same year … fell out with Tunda over the latter's insistence that the priority should be fighting India. For Rahman, who was executed by the government in 2007, establishing Islamic law in Bangladesh was more important. In April 1998, he brought seventeen other militants together, and JMB came into being.

PAGE 5 –

Women from JMB families were also seen as instrumental in strengthening alliances with organisations beyond Bangladesh's borders. Al Amin, an Indian JMB member, currently working as one of the group's explosives experts in Dhaka, was married to a Bangladeshi woman to strengthen his local ties. The sister of an operative named Selim, who was in charge of smuggling of JMB men, arms, explosives and counterfeit currencies across the Bangladeshi-Indian border in Rajshahi division, was married to a former shura member, Rafiqul Islam, who often used the alias Russel.

PAGE 6 –

Hafez Mahmud received twelve months' training from militants in India in 1997

PAGE 9 –

In early 2002, three Indian nationals named Mohammad, Belal and Salahuddin crossed the Indo-Bangladesh border at Godagari, Rajshahi, and met Abdur Rahman in Tangail to discuss running arms and explosives from India. Belal was put in charge of the weapons smuggling operation between Maldah district in India's West Bengal state and Bangladesh, which earned JMB roughly $200 a month. Between 2002 and August 2005, JMB purchased 30 pistols, 300 to 400 packs of power gel and 5,000 detonators from India to be smuggled into Bangladesh. The identity and nature of their collaborators on the Indian side, however, remains unclear.

PAGE 13 –

An arrested Indian LeT operative named Mufti Obaidullah told officials that JMB sought and received help from a HUJI-B splinter known as the Tamiruddin faction or the Tanjin-e-Tamiruddin, in conducting explosions in at least 22 districts of the 63 districts targeted.

[COMMENT – In an earlier article I have shown that Mufti Obaidullah is probably a fraud with the Indian media and security services expressing little interest in his capture.] 

PAGE 14 –

The crackdown separated the committed JMB cadres from those less inclined to take part in jihad. Several ehsars, including senior trainers, left for jobs in the Middle East or fled to India.

Saidur, who authorities believe is in Bangladesh, replaced the leadership largely with veteran members who had been trained directly by Abdur Rahman or had taken part in past JMB operations. This second shura was short-lived, with two of its members arrested in late 2006. There was an exodus of members to India around this time, including several more senior operatives.

PAGE 15 –

Sayem, who was part of Abdur Rahman's inner circle, is reportedly hiding in India.

PAGE 17 –

A large number of ehsars who fled across the Rajshahi border to the Indian state of West Bengal have set up JMB operations there with around 25 Indian and Bangladeshi members. An Indian national named Saif is said to be in charge of the Indian wing, operating in Nadia, Maldah and Murshidabad districts. He runs the operations from an office in Bahrampur, a town in Murshidabad, which serves as a hideout for fugitive JMB operatives, such as shura member Sayem. This wing smuggles guns and bomb-making equipment across the border, along with da'wah programs conducted by some twenty to 25 JMB members.

[COMMENT – It seems very convenient that these JMB operatives are able hideout in India but have never carried out a single terrorist operation in that country.]

PAGE 18 –

Most of the materials such as power gels and detonators were smuggled from India.

 PAGE 20 –

The October 2008 arrest of Rafiqul Islam, who was in charge of the Shibanj and Godagari borders with India, revealed that JMB smuggled counterfeit Indian and Pakistani rupees, U.S. dollars and Bangladeshi takas to India across remote border crossings in Rajshahi division.  The operations were then conducted by JMB's India wing, possibly by shura member Sayem, who is thought to be hiding there. The counterfeiting operations of Rafiqul's cell contributed around $720 per month to JMB's central fund, enough to provide $2,150 to Boma Mizan to purchase explosives in August 2008.

PAGE 21 –

JMB brought in ten men from its Indian branch in November 2008 for its planned assassination attempt on Zia, but the plan was scrapped after several arrests of high-level JMB operatives in the same month.

PAGE 24 -

All militant groups, especially JMB, have benefited from porous borders with India and Myanmar, particularly when BDR personnel abandoned their posts for nearly a week during the mutiny. JMB has regularly exploited lax border control to smuggle its arms and explosives from across the border, while also using the north-west border as its main channel to smuggle counterfeit currencies to India. Hundreds of JMB operatives, including senior leaders such as Boma Mizan, simply walked across the border during the first crackdown to hide out in India.

PAGE 28 –

Despite undeniable evidence of militants such as the JMB using areas along the India-Bangladesh border to train, Dhaka and New Delhi for years insisted on blaming each other for their respective problems rather than acknowledge their overlapping interest in tackling them. Intermittent firefights between Indian and Bangladeshi border forces exacerbate acrimony between the neighbours and feed conspiratorial views among senior Bangladeshi security officials, some of whom believe that JMB is a proxy for India's intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). (246)

n246 - For example, a senior intelligence official said, "JMB is not patriotic. They are mad men who want to kill everyone. We think it may have been created by the government across the border. So that is why they want to stir up trouble in Bangladesh. At least HUJI is patriotic. They would think twice before trying to assassinate our leaders. More importantly, they have always said they would join us in case of a war against India". Crisis Group interview, Dhaka, July 2009.

 

[COMMENT – This seems to confirm the earlier assertions that there are clear differences between HUJI and the JMB and that they do not make for natural allies. A point not followed up by ICG]. 

PERSONAL NOTE –
 

It appears that my blog DeshCalling is being blocked in Bangladesh and so I would request readers to send a complaint to the following link if you are unable to access it and view its contents –

http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/blogger/thread?tid=38a58867c811e3db&hl=en&fid=38a58867c811e3db000480b4b0339ec2

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