NIA begins probe against module affiliated to al–Qaeda in the Indian Sub-Continent

It’s collecting funds for organising and committing unlawful & terrorist activities, say police

April 09, 2022 08:18 pm | Updated April 10, 2022 07:14 am IST - NEW DELHI

A view of National Investigation Agency (NIA), in New Delhi. File

A view of National Investigation Agency (NIA), in New Delhi. File | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has launched a probe into the activities of a module of the Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT), which is affiliated to the banned outfit al–Qaeda in the Indian Sub-Continent (AQIS), in Assam.

In the first week of March, the Assam police had busted a module with the arrest of five alleged members in Barpeta. They were identified as Saiful Islam aka Haroon Rashid, a Bangladeshi national, Badshah Suleiman Khan, Khairul Islam, Taimur Rahman Khan and Noushad Ali.

Saiful, who belongs to Narayanganj in Bangladesh, worked as an Arabic teacher in Barpeta and had recruited the others for the outfit, as alleged. He had entered India illegally through the border along West Bengal. He was motivating young men to be part of sleeper cells for the ABT and other similar outfits, according to the police.

During the investigation, the police seized some documents and electronic devices allegedly from Saiful, which revealed that some young men from Barpeta had already joined the module and were “working towards advocating, abetting, inciting, assisting, harbouring. recruiting and collecting funds for organising and committing unlawful & terrorist activities”.

The case was transferred to the NIA by the Ministry of Home Affairs to probe the cross–border linkages and international ramifications. It has invoked various provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against the accused persons and is in the lookout for some other suspected members of the outfit.

In September 2020, the NIA had registered a case alleging that a group of more than 10 suspects, inspired by al–Qaeda, was planning to carry out terror activities at several places in West Bengal, Delhi and Kerala. The group was headed by one Murshid Hasan. During the probe, 11 accused persons were arrested from West Bengal and Kerala. Subsequently, a chargesheet was filed against them.

The agency alleged that the group had also planned to target an India–based Bangladeshi blogger for his views expressed on social media.

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