By Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury –
India’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA) has banned militancy outfit Jamaatul Mujahedin Bangladesh (JMB) and Hizbul Mujahedin for committing acts of terrorism and for being engaged into radicalization and recruitment of youths for terrorist activities.
It may mention here that, although JMB was first established in Bangladesh jointly by notorious jihadists Shaikh Abdur Rahman and Siddiqul Islam alias Bangla Bhai, for last 10-12 years, it already has spread network inside India’s northeastern state and West Bengal with the help of Hizbul Mujahedin, United Liberation Front of Assam and several separatist groups in the northeastern states with financial and ‘logistic’ support from Pakistan’s Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) and Jamaat-e-Islami.
In India, JMB’s franchises are Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen India or Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Hindustan.
Indian Home Affairs ministry said Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen India or Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Hindustan was also found involved in recruitment and raising funds for terrorist activities, procurement of explosives, chemicals, and assembling of Improvised Explosive Devices (IED).
It may be mentioned here that India and Bangladesh share 4,156-km-long border, that passes through five states — West Bengal (2,217 km), Tripura (856 km), Meghalaya (443 km), Assam (262 km) and Mizoram (180 km).
In January 2019, the MOHA added Al-Qaida in Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP), ISIS Wilayat Khorasan, Islamic State of Iraq, Sham- Khorasan (ISIS-K) and the Khalistan Liberation Force among the list of terrorist organizations banned under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.
The action is pretty late
Although the ban was imposed just days back, the jihadist outfit has been silently expanding the network and establishing its strong foothold in India cheating the eyes of the Indian security agencies.
A vital point that misses the attention
The vital point that both Bangladeshi and Indian intelligence agencies and counter-terrorism experts are missing is, JMB does not have a leader or ‘emir’ at least for the last 12 years. Although it is wrongly perceived that JMB is operated under the command of someone from Bangladesh, the fact is totally different.
Counterterrorism experts or organizations in Bangladesh or India may find amusement in branding JMB as ‘Neo JMB’ but in reality, there is no JMB anymore, as there is no Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT), another jihadist entity. Ansarullah Bangladesh Team already had been renamed as Ansar Al Islam (AAI), being affiliated with Al Qaeda, while JMB already has been merged with Islamic State. While AAI’s command still is in Bangladesh, JMB or the merged entity with ISIS is currently operated from Pakistan.
A new jihadist nexus
Following atrocities on the Rohingyas in Myanmar and subsequent influx of over one million Rohingya refugees into Bangladesh, most of the jihadist groups in Asia are paying huge attention to this community. Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), which was considered as a ‘tiny’ entity by the counterterrorism experts even five years back is now gradually becoming one of the strongest jihadist forces. Members of ARSA is getting training in Pakistan-occupies Kashmir as well as by the Palestinian Hamas. There also are reports about ARSA men getting training in Indonesia as well as in some of the African nations.
The most alarming fact is, ARSA is the only jihadist monster-in-growing, which will have thousands of (I repeat, thousands) female members in its suicide squad. These females are being specially trained by Pakistani ISI and once they are ‘deployed’ into jihadist ‘battlefields’ – most definitely India, Myanmar and Bangladesh, South Asia will turn into the worst-ever jihadist battleground in the world. According to credible sources, some of these female suicide squad members are being given full commando training by the skilled trainers from Pakistan.
Since 2017, JMB and already formed a nexus with ARSA, ULFA and other separatist groups inside India. Some of the ex-ULFA terrorists are now working directly under JMB’s command. They also are helping in the purchase and stockpiling of explosives for jihadist actions of JMB … or let’s say ISIS.
Millions of dollars of jihadist cash-flow
For the past few years, the control of the manufacture and trafficking of Yaba (Yaba is a combination of methamphetamine (a powerful and addictive stimulant) and caffeine. Yaba, which means crazy medicine in Thai, is produced in Southeast and East Asia. The drug is popular in Asian communities in the United States and increasingly is available at raves and techno parties) have gone under to grips of the jihadist syndicate.
Yaba is being trafficked into most of the Asian nations including Bangladesh and India as well as Europe and America by the jihadist conglomerate. Demand for this disastrous drugs in on rising. To understand the alarming level of its use, let’s have a glimpse on the growing use of Yaba only in Bangladesh. According to data from the Department of Narcotics Control Bangladesh (DNC), total seizures of Yaba pills went from being 36,543 in 2008 to 812,716 in 2010, 1,951,392 in 2012, and 6,512,869 in 2014 to 29,450,178 in 2016! This “striking surge since 2009 and the distance from Bangladesh border from production centers in Shan State (NE Burma),” according to Jane’s Intelligence Review (a monthly journal on global security and stability issues), “appear to reflect a well-organized export drive rather than a gradual increase”.
For the sake of making the trafficking of Yaba ‘smoother’ Pakistani ISI has tagged Dawood Ibrahim’s D-Company into the trade, which is actively helping the jihadist outfits in making quick bucks. And of course, jihadists aren’t buying luxury with the money. They are buying weapons and explosives or spending on jihadist activities.
Jihadist females in Western institutions
Last year, I wrote an article titled ‘Story of ISIS-affiliated Bangladeshi jihadist sisters’, where I narrated the story of a Bangladeshi young girl, who went to Australia on Feb. 1, 2018, to study linguistics on an excellence scholarship at La Trobe University. Describing herself as “an introvert and very shy in nature,” she spoke of an ambition to become a university instructor. Coming from an affluent and secular Dhaka family which considered her “brilliant,” Momena had been an ‘A’ student at some of the Dhaka’s elite English-language educational institutions such as Loreto School, Mastermind School, and North South University (NSU). She graduated from NSU with an honors degree in English language and literature in 2016, and then enrolled for a master’s degree at NSU before switching to La Trobe.
And on her arrival in Australia, Shoma did go for jihadist attack and during interrogation after the arrest, she did not hesitate in saying, the purpose of her getting admitted to an Australian university was not for higher studies – but for “finding the enemies of Islam and eliminate”.
Hundreds and thousands of Shomas are trying for getting admitted in the Western educational institutions – or maybe they are going to enter the Western societies along with their parents or spouses, and all we need to know, they are jihadist beasts – predators – looking for preys.
*Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury is the editor of Blitz. Follow him on Twitter Salah_Shoaib