Like a phantom mece, jihadi networks in Assam are spreading through several districts and growing rapidly stronger. The recent arrest of seven jihadis in Chirang district, an imam among them, shows how radical Islamist groups are going on a recruiting drive in BTAD and parts of southern Assam. The police have identified them as members of a Jamaat-ul-Mujahiddin Bangladesh (JMB) module striking roots in the State to set up local franchises. Things began to unravel for the module after its kingpin Ashiq Burhabhai, bbed a few months back, gave important leads to police investigators. This was a fallout of the police busting a JMB training camp at Chirang, masquerading as a martial arts centre. It then came to light that recruits are given training in three phases of indoctrition into jihadi ideology, physical regimen and weapons handling. Among the latest police catch, the imam of a masjid in Amguri near the Bhutan border, is said to have been playing a key role in radicalizing youths in the training camps. But the difficulties facing the police can be gauged from the ferocity with which hundreds of local people laid siege to Amguri police station. As many as 29 jihadis have been bbed in the ongoing police drive in Chirang district alone but at least 15 of their compatriots are still at large. With Barpeta district still the springboard of jihadi activities, fundamentalist groups are beginning to spread their tentacles elsewhere. The arrest of a cadre of a new outfit ‘Muslim United Liberation Tiger Force, Assam’ at South Salmara recently has revealed the scale of its extortion drive among traders in the Mankachar region. Considering the huge potential for mischief these jihadi groups are capable of in near future, the State police, army and other security forces need top notch intelligence to stay ahead of the game, backed by a strong political directive. But political parties seem to be more at each other’s throats, doing their best to politicize an issue like terror — leaving security agencies hamstrung in effectively penetrating and neutralizing jihadi and like-minded terror groups. This hurts intelligence gathering on the ground, with dire implications for the State’s security.
Spreading jihadi tentacles