The report recently published by the International Crisis Group (THE THREAT FROM JAMAAT-UL MUJAHIDEEN BANGLADESH –
Asia Report No. 187 (March 1, 2010)) on the resurgence of the JMB reveals that it maintained extensive contacts within
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 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 – India
Women from JMB families were also seen as instrumental in strengthening alliances with organisations beyond
’s borders. Bangladesh , an Indian JMB member, currently working as one of the group’s explosives experts in Al Amin 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.
In early 2002, three Indian nationals named
Mohammad, Belal and Salahuddin crossed the Indo-Bangladesh border at Godagari, Rajshahi, and met in Tangail to discuss running arms and explosives from Abdur Rahman . Belal was put in charge of the weapons smuggling operation between Maldah district in India India’s West Bengal state and , 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 Bangladesh India to be smuggled into . The identity and nature of their collaborators on the Indian side, however, remains unclear. Bangladesh
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.]
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
Saidur, who authorities believe is in
, replaced the leadership largely with veteran members who had been trained directly by Bangladesh 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 Abdur Rahman around this time, including several more senior operatives. India
Sayem, who was part of
’s inner circle, is reportedly hiding in Abdur Rahman . India
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 to hideout in
but have never carried out a single terrorist operation in that country.] India
Most of the materials such as power gels and detonators were smuggled from
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
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 India to purchase explosives in August 2008. Boma Mizan
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.
All militant groups, especially JMB, have benefited from porous borders with
India and , particularly when Myanmar 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 . Hundreds of JMB operatives, including senior leaders such as India , simply walked across the border during the first crackdown to hide out in Boma Mizan . India
[COMMENT – It had been presumed at the time of the
BDR Mutiny that the borders could now be breached to the severe detriment of . If as some reports suggest that the Bangladesh BDR Mutiny was a planned operation of Indian intelligence and that the BSF were part of the mutiny plan so as to allow JMB operatives free to cross the border into Bangladesh in order to carry out attacks in the country with the full connivance of RAW --- an obvious implication not followed up by the ICG]
Despite undeniable evidence of militants such as the JMB using areas along the India-Bangladesh border to train, Dhaka and
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 New Delhi ’s intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). (246) India
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
. 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 Bangladesh ”. Crisis Group interview, India Dhaka, July 2009.