Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Pakistan-based terror outfits have formed a strong nexus with militants in Bangladesh and are taking advantage of the porous border to carry out attacks in India, according to the paramilitary Border Security Force (BSF).
'A strong nexus has emerged between Pakistan-based terror outfits like Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) with Harkat-ul-Jihad-e-Islami (HuJI) and Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) of Bangladesh,' A.K. Mitra, director general of the BSF, told IANS.
'We have authentic reports that militants are using Bangladeshi territory for entering India clandestinely through porous borders and have information about their involvement in terrorist activities in India.'
Mitra said that Bangladeshi nationals are being trained to be terrorists in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
The BSF official said the paramilitary force had recently apprehended 11 militants while they were crossing over the India-Bangladesh border in West Bengal.
'During investigations it was found that these 11 militants were a part of LeT, JeM and JMB. This suggests that they were on some joint mission.'
Mitra said there were also reports of women being involved in terror activities. 'It is a great cause of concern and the force is maintaining a strict vigil over the developments.'
Mitra's admission of terrorists using the border with Bangladesh to sneak into India is in line with the belief of Indian intelligence agencies that HuJI militants in connivance with JeM ultras are conducting terror strikes here at the behest of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency.
Intelligence agencies strongly suspect HuJI's hand behind the synchronised bombings that ripped across three prominent Uttar Pradesh towns leaving 13 dead and 80 wounded last month.
'The e-mail warnings sent to some private TV channel offices minutes before the blasts (in Uttar Pradesh) suggest a HuJi hand in the blasts,' an intelligence official told IANS on condition of anonymity.
'The e-mail id, email@example.com, from which the mail was sent has an indication of HuJi involvement as the name Guru had first sprung up during the interrogation of alleged India HuJi chief Babu Bhai, arrested in Lucknow last June.'
'Babu Bhai had referred to a contact man in New Delhi as Guru, who could not be tracked down, therefore the e-mail id could have something to do with the same person,' he pointed out.
Intelligence officials also claim that HuJI was behind the bombings in Malegaon last year, and Ajmer and Hyderabad this year.
Mitra said infiltration along the India-Bangladesh border could not be completely plugged since the frontier was porous.
'We can't completely control infiltration through the India-Bangladesh border as it is very much porous and many areas are not fenced because of geographical barriers,' Mitra said.
India shares a 4,096 km border - 2,979 km of land and 1,116 km of rivers - with Bangladesh. The BSF has been able to fence only 66 percent of the land border. Also, only 277 km of the border area is covered under floodlights and even this is affected by frequent electricity failures and rainfall.
According to BSF figures, a total of 6,617 Bangladesh nationals were apprehended during the first 10 months this year compared to 9,679 during the year 2006.
'The decrease in interception of illegal Bangladeshi migrants is due to ongoing border fencing and construction of roads, and the setting up of floodlights along the border,' he added.
While fencing has reduced the infiltration problem to a large extent, the border can still be breached. 'We want floodlights everywhere in the complete border area,' he said, adding that a proposal regarding this was sent to the home ministry.
Mitra said that during the India-Bangladesh border coordination meeting in Dhaka this year, a list of 141 camps of anti-India insurgent groups was handed over to Bangladesh Rifles (BDR).
'Last year, the number was 176, which shows that some of the camps have been destroyed or have been shifted due to selective action by the forces,' Mitra said.
'However, Bangladeshi authorities maintained their official stand that Bangladesh doesn't allow its territory to be used for any prejudicial activity against any other country.'