Sahanur Alom alias Ilias, one of NIA’s 12 “most wanted” persons in the Burdwan blast case who was arrested by the Assam Police Friday, had close links with top leaders of Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB). Police is on the look-out for one Zahid, a top JMB operative believed to be hiding somewhere in Assam.
Zahid, sources said, was sent to Assam to initiate organisational activities after the JMB was banned in Bangladesh. He is also believed to have married a woman from Barpeta district (from where Alom hails), and had reportedly acquired voter ID and ration card.
Sources in Assam Police said Sahanur (32), who is currently being questioned by Special Branch and the NIA, has admitted to have been in regular contact with at least two top JMB leaders, including its “commander” Sajid Sheikh, a Bangladeshi national who was arrested by West Bengal Police near Kolkata airport on November 8. While Sahanur carried a reward of Rs 5 lakh, the NIA had announced a reward of Rs 10 lakh for Sajid.
Sajid, who had escaped to India after the JMB was banned in Bangladesh in the wake of the 2005 serial blasts, had trained boys from both West Bengal and Assam in places like Murshidabad, Burdwan and Birbhum. “That a person from a remote village in Barpeta district in Assam had become close to terrorists like Sajid itself indicates how deep-rooted the JMB conspiracy to create disturbances in Assam has been,” said a senior Assam Police officer.
Another top JMB leader with whom Sahanur admitted to have been close is Yusuf Sheikh alias Moulana Yusuf, a resident of West Bengal who is believed to have made several trips to Assam in the past one year or more. Yusuf, police said, had attended several motivational training programmes organised by Sahanur in Assam to attract young boys to the JMB fold.