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Jayanta Gupta | TNN | Kolkata | Dec 21, 2015:: Organisations like the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) have been operating under instructions from Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) to create chaos in India’s eastern sector. According to officials in Bangladesh, the ISI has been as active in that country as it has been India in the last couple of years. In January this year, Mazhar Khan, a Pakistani envoy was expelled from Dhaka for allegedly funding JMB operatives. With operations getting more difficult in Jammu & Kashmir, the ISI has apparently turned its attention to Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal.
“The ISI is exploiting efforts by the JMB and other organisations to create unrest both in Bangladesh and the eastern states of India. West Bengal is primary in the scheme of things as there has been long-standing talk of jehadi outfits planning a Caliphate in Bangladesh after incorporating the districts of Malda, Murshidabad and Nadia of West Bengal. Pakistan and the ISI in particular has a lot to gain from the acts of violence perpetrated by the terror outfits. Historically, the Liberation of Bangladesh has been a sore wound for the Pakistani establishment. Improved ties between India and Bangladesh amounts to rubbing salt on this wound. By creating trouble in this region, Pakistan can make both Bangladesh and India suffer as unlike in northern India, the borders in the east are more porous,” a senior Bangladeshi official noted.
While Khan’s expulsion took place in January, intelligence agencies in Bangladesh recently came to know that Fareena Arshad, second secretary (political) in the Pakistan Embassy in Dhaka has links with the JMB and other outfits. Officials are not discounting the possibility of moles in the Bangladeshi establishment. Bangladesh’s external intelligence agency, the Directorate General Forces Intelligence (DGFI) was extremely close to the ISI till a few years ago after all. According to another source in Bangladesh, the ISI may have been planning a honey-trap to infiltrate the higher levels of government in Dhaka.
“Till Pakistan’s good relations lasted with the erstwhile governments in Bangladesh and the DGFI, the porous Indo-Bangla border remained a major entry point for subversive elements into India. Terror camps in Bangladesh – even those belonging to outfits in northeastern India – received support from the ISI. The DGFI even facilitated a visit by top ISI officials to areas close to the international border with India. Organisations like the Chhatra Shibir provided a regular supply to major terror outfits. All this ended after the present government came to power in Bangladesh. The ISI was desperate to regain ground and attempted major unrest in Bangladesh by using the JMB and other outfits in late 2014 and early 2015. By then, several subversives had set up base in India and were roped in to provide assistance. The Khagragarh blast and subsequent investigations thwarted this. Gradually, over the last one year, thanks to a crackdown by Bangladesh’s Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and other agencies, the JMB lost a lot of ground. However, its not the end by any means. Many leaders and key jehadis have gone to ground and are waiting for an opportunity to resurface,” an official from an Indian intelligence agency said.
By condemning the capital punishment handed down by Bangladesh to war criminals and denying all charges of genocide by the army during the 1971 Liberation War, Pakistan has attempted to convey that it supports the jehadi movement. According to a source in Bangladesh, a massive smear campaign against India is also underway by the ISI in Bangladesh. This is again an attempt to rouse anti-India frenzy and give jehadi elements an opportunity to regroup. This is a matter of concern for both the governments of India and Bangladesh.