NIA arrest ISIS members from West Bengal

Sat 13 Apr 2024, 10:44:20
Kolkata: Two suspected ISIS members, who had directly carried out the Rameshwaram Cafe blast in Bengaluru on March 1 and were on the run since then with a Rs 10 lakh cash bounty on them, were arrested by the National Investigation Agency in a joint operation with the West Bengal police from a hotel at popular beach town Digha in East Midnapore district early Friday. They are Mussavir Hussain Shazib, 30, and Abdul Matheen Ahmed Taha, 30. The duo stayed at least in four hotels in the state, including two in Kolkata, while hiding for the past one month using fake identities and documents. 

The arrests of the two terror accused from West Bengal prior to the Lok Sabha elections instantly triggered a political slugfest between the ruling and Opposition parties in the state.

The BJP accused West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of turning West Bengal into a “safe haven” for terrorists. In retaliation, the Trinamul Congress supremo however claimed the two accused took shelter in the state for only two hours and were nabbed by the state police within two hours of getting the tip-off. The NIA said: “The absconders in the Rameswaram Cafe blast case, Abdul Matheen Taha and Mussavir Hussain Shazib, were traced to their hideout near Kolkata and apprehended by an NIA team. In the early morning hours of April 12, the NIA successfully traced the absconding accused near Kolkata, where they were hiding under false


It added: “Mussavir Hussain Shazib is the accused who placed the IED at the café, and Abdul Matheen Taha is the mastermind behind the planning, execution of the blast, and subsequent evasion from the clutches of the law. This pursuit, successfully accomplished by NIA, was ably supported by cooperation between the NIA, Central intelligence agencies, and state police of West Bengal, Telangana, Karnataka and Kerala.”

The state BJP also alleged: “NIA's crackdown on Rameswaram Cafe blast suspects in Kolkata unveils the stark reality: West Bengal has morphed into a sanctuary for terrorists. Bobby Hakim's chilling comparison to ‘mini-Pakistan’ finds validation as Mamata Banerjee’s leniency emboldens criminals. The time for decisive action against this culture of impunity is now!” 

Ms Banerjee told a TMC poll campaign rally in Cooch Behar: Someone often passes comments. He said a bomb blast occurred in Bengaluru. The accused are also from Karnataka and not here. They were hiding here for two hours. We ensured their arrest within two hours. Look at the promptness of the Bengal police. Are your states of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Bihar safe?” During the day, Mussavir and Abdul were produced by the NIA at the Bankshall court in the city. The Central agency sought their transit remand, which was granted by the judge for three days.

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