Security forces in Assam achieved a major success in busting a sleeper cell of a jehadi group in western Assam district of Chirang on 25th September. Sources said six persons, who are believed to be part of a sleeper cell of Jamaat-ul-Mujhadeen Bangladesh (JMB), were arrested by a joint team of Assam Police and CRPF.
A statement by the Assam Police headquarters said Amuguri Police in Chirang district, along with personnel of 156 Bn of CRPF, nabbed Noor Mohammad, Malek Sekh, Mostafa Mandal, Hafijur Ali, Saleman Ali and Mofijul Islam. The police team found two handmade rifles and two handmade pistols on them.
This is the biggest arrest of JMB activists in Assam since that of key operative Sahanur Alom in December last year. Alom was one of the conspirators behind the Burdwan blast in West Bengal.
‘There are probably 15 more such persons, all part of sleeper cells, in various parts of lower Assam. Our focus is on nabbing them, too,’ Assam Police additional DG (SB) Pallab Bhattacharya said.
Jihadi elements have had a presence in the State since 2005. There were around six to seven groups initially, and all of them had been neutralized. Since then, this is the first time that jihadi elements with foreign links have been found in the State.
The arrests come barely a week after the police busted a jehadi training camp in Chirang district and arrested four persons. They also recovered a huge quantity of training material, including country-made AK-47 rifles. With this, 16 JMB members have been apprehended in September alone.
The police claimed that the JMB not only recruited youngsters from lower Assam districts and sent them for training to Bangladesh, but also tried to set up a women’s wing in the State by distributing free burkhas. Initially, jihadi elements were found to have a presence only in Barpeta district, but recent arrests suggest they are expanding to neighbouring districts.