Last month, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) had arrested seven suspected terrorists in Murshidabad, West Bengal, allegedly associated with the Al-Qaeda terrorist group. According to the Sunday Guardian, these arrests have opened new doors for the investigation agency to look into how deep this nexus has rooted itself among the local youths and radicalizing them, especially along with the state’s border districts.
According to the investigation agencies, many small organizations have popped up across the state in the last few years. They are recruiting young people and radicalizing them to prepare them for Jihad. They are teaching them the principles of Wahhabism.
Shocking revelations by arrested terrorists
The suspected terrorists arrested by the NIA revealed that they were planning to attack important locations and kill innocents. As per the reports, they have attended anti-CAA protests and mobilized masses to hit the streets.
NIA found jihadi literature, digital devices, sharp weapons, etc. in their possession. The Sunday Guardian quoted its source in NIA who said, “We are also learning about how these people were working to recruit new entrants into their group; also, if there are any kind of training camps present in Bengal, who their leader is and how many people are involved in this.”
Media reports had cited citing NIA sources that 6 the arrested terrorists had stationed themselves in Murshidabad last year during the anti-CAA violence in December. They had reportedly mobilised the masses for the large scale violence, arson, rioting and looting that had taken place in the area under the garb of anti-CAA protests.
Change in demographics, unemployment, and the idea of radicalization
In the past few years, the demographic change in the border districts of West Bengal has raised concerns about national security. Investigation agencies believe that several fundamentalists and Wahhabi clerics have crossed the India-Bangladesh border using porous borders. They are working with the local Muslim population on the Indian side and preparing them for the “holy war.”
NIA has arrested six Al-Qaeda terrorists among several fundamentalists who were working in Bengal. They have also arrested members of the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) from different locations across the country. It is believed that the Sheikh Hasina government was targeting the fundamentalist clerics in Bangladesh. The clerics hence crossed the border to find a safe location to stay in Bengal.
According to the investigation agencies, because of the unemployment in the rural areas of West Bengal, it has become easier for the fundamentalist clerics to stay and propagate their teachings of Wahhabism among youth. They have come across printed material, WhatsApp forwards, banners, and more that are being circulated in the local population. These posters, messages, etc, encourage youth to join the “noble cause” of spreading the Islamic rule in India.