An arrested jihadi of the Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) has told interrogators that the terror group was planning Pulwama-type car bomb strikes both in Bangladesh and in India’s northeastern state of Assam.
The JMB treats the Sheikh Hasina government as representing Murtad (apostate) interests and as enemy of efforts to make Bangladesh an Shariat-driven Dar-ul-Islam.
It also seeks to avenge the victimization of Bangladesh -origin Muslims in Assam.
Nazir Sheikh, a JMB cadre from Bangladesh, was arrested in Tripura earlier this month .
Sheikh has told his interrogators that ‘deadly attacks were being planned ‘ in Assam and Bangladesh to ‘terrify the enemies of Islam.’
His confessions echoes those of Mujibur Rahman, who , after his arrest by Bangladesh police, confessed to working closely with Mazhar Khan, an ISI officer working under consular cover as assistant visa officer in the Pakistani embassy in Dhaka.
Rahman confessed that he had been to Pakistan at least 20 times, to India eleven times and to Thailand to meet ISI officers and gun-runners 22 times, all in the past eighteen months.
He told Bangladesh police that the ISI officers were funding and arming the neo-JMB elements and the Bangkok meetings were part of the ‘third-country contacts’ to facilitate peddling of weapons to the jihadis inside Bangladesh and northeast India.
Since Rahman’s confessions, Bangladesh police has tightened its surveillance of the Pakistan embassy in Dhaka and the Hasina government has even refused to accept the credentials of Pakistan’s ambassdor designate in Dhaka , Syedah Saqlain .
Bangladesh information minister Hasan Mahmud told Northeast Now during his recent visit to Calcutta that Dhaka had ‘very justified reasons’ in taking the unusual step of refusing to accept Saqlain’s credentials.
He said the Hasina government was on the same page with India in fighting terror and Bangladesh was one of the seven sponsors, along with UK, US , France, Japan and Australia (besides India) of the UN resolution to designate Jaish-e-Muhammed chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist.
That resolution fell through when China, Pakistan’s all-weather friend, put it on hold.
Indian and Bangladesh intelligence were currently comparing the interrogation outcome of Mujibur Rahman and Nazir Sheikh to zero in on neo-JMB modules active in both countries .
“After Pulwama, we feel there is no room for any complacency in the fight against terror,” a top Bangladesh intelligence officer told Northeast Now.
He said the ISI was likely to target Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina after a plane hijack last month failed in Chittagong.
“We have reasons to believe that the hijacker Mahdi had other associates and his insistence on speaking to PM Hasina was perhaps meant to draw her out to a vulnerable point to facilitate a surprise assault,” the top officer said.