21 September 2019
In July 2019, India’s State Minister for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy accused Jama’at-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) of using some madrassas (religious schools) in West Bengal for radicalisation and recruitment activities. The claim came a week after Indian police arrested four members of the pro-Islamic State (IS) faction of JMB in West Bengal.
West Bengal has not yet seen any major terrorist attacks except for an accidental blast at a terrorist safe-house in 2014. Minister Reddy’s comments were met with fiery criticism from his political opponents in West Bengal. But the claims cannot be brushed away, considering the growing trans-border linkages that terrorist groups maintain in the region. The JMB in particular is believed to have supporters in Bangladesh’s northwest. Both of JMB’s pro-Al Qaeda (AQ) and pro-IS factions appear to be gaining traction in West Bengal.
The ethno-linguistic space of Bengal consists of independent Bangladesh in the east and the Indian state of West Bengal in the west. Bangladesh is a Muslim majority country and West Bengal is a Hindu majority state with Muslim majority districts along its border with Bangladesh. This border is long, porous and poorly managed, resulting in trans-border crime and the cross-border movement of terrorists. In several cases, JMB has used cross-border marriages to find shelter in West Bengal.
… Iftekharul Bashar is Associate Research Fellow at the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research, Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore.
ICPVTR / Online
Last updated on 23/09/2019