There is legitimate concern in Assam over reports that five to ten jihadis from Bangladesh have entered Assam. There are more reasons than one for people to be greatly worried. Assam’s Director General of Police Mukesh Sahay confirmed on Monday that the police had received intelligence reports about intrusion of five suspected persons from Bangladesh, but added that reports of intrusion of jihadis into the State are yet to be confirmed or corroborated. What is indeed worrisome is that it hardly matters whether such jihadis from Bangladesh belong to the JMB or to the IS. Their capacity for terror and killings is hardly any different as demonstrated by the two latest attacks mounted by Bangladeshi terrorists within the country—one in an upmarket restaurant in Dhaka where all the non-Bangladeshi diners were brutally slaughtered, and another at the Solkiah idgah grounds on 7 July during the Id maaz, where four persons were killed and 12 injured. Among the four killed were two policemen. But the far more important reason for worry is that cadres of the IS or the JMB are unlikely to arrive only after sending in their visiting cards. Their potential for terror is all the greater due to their ability to go about their tasks silently and without being detected. The element of surprise and their total lack of compunction about killing innocent people in cold blood is what makes such outfits all the more terrifying. When the IS attacked Paris or the Brussels airport or a crowded locality in Baghdad, none of the hundreds of their victims had any clue of what was coming. As such, the legitimate fear of the people of Assam about the mayhem that the attacks of even five or ten terrorists from Bangladesh can give rise to is based more on what such terrorist outfits have achieved even in countries with superb police forces. This is certainly not to imply that our own police force has not done a commendable job in dealing with such terrorist outfits from Bangladesh in the past. One recalls how a JMB module that was active in Assam was smashed after the Burdwan blasts of 2014. So far 48 JMB cadres have been arrested in Assam, and those arrested are still behind bars. There is no reason to believe that the Assam Police would not be equally successful even this time if the normal intrusion routes between Bangladesh and Assam as well as our railway stations are carefully monitored day and night for the next couple of months.
The possibility of Bangladeshi terrorists of the JMB or IS having entered India has grown stronger with Dhaka having furnished New Delhi with the mes, photographs and passport numbers of 10 terrorists. The Bangladesh government fears that these ten terrorists might have entered India. The fact that they all have passports underscores the recent discovery that many of the Bangladeshi terrorists belong to well-to-do families. At the same time, three female jihadis, trained in the use of suicide bombs and recently arrested in Bangladesh, have stated that they were trained in India. In addition to all these developments, there is now the disturbing report of many youths of the districts of Dhubri and Barpeta having disappeared during the last two months. There is every reason to believe that most of them are at least jihadists if not terrorists and that jihadist attacks in different parts of the Northeast, especially Assam, are very much on the cards. But the most disturbing development is that the Songbijit faction of the NDFB has a nexus with jihadis of Assam for trade in clandestine arms. Funds raised in Assam are reportedly deposited in Dimapur and transferred abroad. The purchase of clandestine arms is thus a major motivator for forging links with jihadis. It is such links that need to be identified and destroyed if jihadi activities in the country are to be brought to an end.