New Delhi: In a major crackdown against Al-Qaeda terror modules which were allegedly operational in Murshidabad region in West Bengal and Ernakulam in Kerala, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) have arrested nine people.NIA sources said six of them held are from Murshidabad bordering Bangladesh and three from Ernakulam areas in the southern state of Kerala.
"As per preliminary investigation, these individuals were radicalised by Pakistan-based Al Qaeda terrorists on social media and were motivated to undertake attacks at multiple places including the National Capital Region," an NIA source said. Among those identified, Leu Yan Ahmed and Abu Sufiyan were arrested from West Bengal and Mosaraf Hossen and Murshid Hasan from Kerala.
Incidentally, both the states - under Mamata Banerjee in Bengal and the Left Front regime in Kerala - go to polls early next year.
The Terror operatives were "actively indulging in fundraising", and a few members of the gang were planning to travel to New Delhi to procure arms and ammunition, says NIA.
The source also said: "A large quantity of incriminating materials including digital devices, documents, Jihadi literature, sharp weapons, country made firearms and locally fabricated body armour and articles and literature used for making homemade explosive devices have also been seized".
These arrests have preempted "possible terrorists' attacks" in various parts of the country, the source said.
It is not for the first time, terrorism-related activities have been tracked and busted in West Bengal - which for long was under Left regime and is under Trinamool Congress rule since 2011.
From time to time, local police and central forces like the BSF have held miscreants in Murshidabad township and the region. The BSF has been active near Daulatpur border outpost in Malda district of West Bengal and the past carried out joint operations against such miscreants along with the representatives of the NIA.
Sometime back, a North Korean national was also held by the BSF and the said individual, employed with a North Korean firm that makes mining equipment, got in touch with Jihadi groups in Bangladesh.
In fact, since the 2014 Burdwan blast allegedly carried out by Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) networks, more than five dozen suspected operatives have been arrested in West Bengal.
The Jihadi elements have been hyperactive in Kerala as well.
In December 2019, an NIA court in Kochi had sentenced six accused in a case related to the so-called 'Islamic State' to rigorous imprisonment of up to 14 years. Reports said the 'ISIS fighters' from Kerala are among the 600-odd militants who had also surrendered before government forces.