IS threat looms as NIA DG alerts terror outfit JMB footprints in Odisha!

A BSF report in 2008 submitted to Union Home Ministry had then stated JMB had sleeper cells in West Bengal, Assam, Odisha and Tripura. And they operate the high denomination fake currency racket

Bhubaneswar: With the NIA DG YC Modi having confirmed that Jamaat ul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) has infiltrated into Odisha, the worst fallout is Odisha has now come under the glare of notorious radical terrorist outfit IS (Islamic State).

It is only recently (May 24, 2019) Union Home Ministry has banned the  terrorist outfit JMB and all its factions. The ban followed after an alert issued by the Central Intelligence Bureau (IB) to the West Bengal government.

As per IB reports, the terror outfit JMB is now operating under the umbrella of the global terrorist organisation Islamic State (IS).

How nefarious terror attack plans the IS outfit have in pipeline to wreak havoc in India had been spelt out in details in a Bengali magazine called ‘Lone Wolf’, which was interestingly published by an agency called ‘Balakot Media’. It needs mentioning that in February, India had carried out air strike at JeM camps in Balakot.

In the given context, the Indian security agencies are now alert to the possible ‘Lone Wolf’ attacks (attack carried by a single terrorist) in the country.

The big deal here is the magazine has even gone to the extent suggesting how the ‘Jihadis’ have been advised to enter India from abroad via Bangladesh as the Indian government has liberalised the visa policies for Bangladeshis.

The Magazine has even suggested do’s and don’ts for terrorists. It dissuaded the attackers from using big trucks to “crush people” as the chances are that the intended targets might escape or sustain minor injuries.

However, security agencies are alert to the fact that JMB-IS threat already exists in India because of the infiltration of militants from Bangladesh via West Bengal’s porous borders since long.

As per an analysis of Observer Research Foundation (ORF), a lead think-tank in Asia, that quoted IB reports suggest that between 2014 and 2017, more than 3,000 militants belonging to terrorist groups JMB and HUJI-B entered India through West Bengal, Assam and Tripura. The reports further stated that ever since their infiltration into India, the JMB has been expanding its presence in India’s Eastern states.

How Odisha comes into the picture? As per Odisha police and RBI reports, Bangladesh terror outfits to fund their terror activities push the high denomination fake currencies trade through West Bengal, and from there, they pump into Odisha.

A BSF report in 2008 submitted to Union Home Ministry had then stated that JMB had sleeper cells in West Bengal, Assam, Odisha and Tripura. And they indulge in operating the high denomination fake currency racket.

The report then had observed that JMB and HUJI (Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami) have established sleeper cells in Odisha to buck the surveillance of Indian security agencies.

However, the NIA has today alerted the police forces and state intelligence agencies of six states, including Odisha, to track down the JMB sleeper cells and agents.

A profile of JMB: Founded in 1998, it came to prominence in 2005 after carrying out successfully almost 500 simultaneous bomb blasts in 63 out of the 64 districts of Bangladesh on 17 August 2005.

Significantly, these attacks came six months after it was banned by the then Khaleda Zia – led Bangladesh Government. Post the lethal strike,  Bangladeshi government came down heavily and had eliminated most of their top leadership with their counter terrorism unit.

By 2010, it was believed that the JMB had been completely eradicated. Even, a top JMB leader, Maulana Saidur Rehman, confessed before Bangladesh anti-terrorism unit that their cadre strength had shrunk to merely 400 from a peak of 10,000 full time and around 1lakh part time cadres.

As per an ORF analysis, JMB broke into three separate factions in 2011. Of the three factions, the first one was of the old JMB managed by Saidur Rahman’s son Abu Talha.

The second faction, run by Salahuddin and Zahidul Islam, was functioning out of India, and the two were neutralised when their plan to carry out large scale attacks fell through after an accidental explosion at their hideout in Burdwan in 2014.

Intelligence reports suggest that these two factions have now reportedly merged.

However, the third faction of JMB that carried out the Holey Artisan Bakery attack in Dhaka in 2016,  reportedly inspired/supported by the Islamic State, poses a direct threat to India and the region, suggests the  ORF analysis.

Terror Attack Profile of JMB in India: The group was held responsible for the Burdwan explosion in 2014 and the blast in Bodh Gaya, Bihar in 2018.