Burdwan blast: Key accused ​Shahnoor Alam remanded to 14 days police custody

Shahnoor Alam, a key accused in the October 2 blast in West Bengal's Burdwan district, was on Saturday remanded to 14 days' police custody by a Kamrup court.

Burdwan blast: Key accused ​Shahnoor Alam remanded to 14 days police custody

Guwahati: Key suspect in Burdwan blast case and alleged motivational trainer of terror group Jamaat-ul- Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) Shahanoor Alam has been arrested by Assam Police's Special Operation Unit from his relative's house in Nalbari district.

Addressing a press conference here on Saturday, Assam Director General of Police Khagen Sarma said Alam was nabbed "after getting an information from a local person".

Alam was arrested last evening from Larkuchi village under Mukalmua police station in Nalbari district. With this, the total number of arrests in Assam in connection with the October 2 blast in Burdwan has gone upto ten, Sarma said.

"We have been after Shahanur since the blast took place (on October 2). Many times, we missed him narrowly. Yesterday, Assam Police's Special Operation Unit received information about his hideout and accordingly arrested him," Sarma said.

Alam has been arrested under IPC Sections 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 121 (waging, attempting to wage war or abetting waging of war against Government of India).

He was produced at the court of the CJM, Kamrup today and remanded to 14 days police custody.

One of the prime accused in the Burdwan blast case, Alam has so far been hiding at many places in Assam, Meghalaya and areas along the international border with Bangladesh, but "he has not gone to Bangladesh after the blast", the DGP said.

Talking about his involvement with the JMB, Sarma said, "He is not an expert in operational training or militant activities in terms of use of arms or weapons. But he is very expert in motivational training and it is more dangerous."

The top cop said Alam was closely connected with the Burdwan blast and kept on visiting the place before the incident, besides having a good rapport with leaders of JMB in West Bengal and Bangladesh.

With paramedical training in dentistry, Alam was given the name 'Iliyas' in JMB and received "motivational training" in Assam and West Bengal, the DGP said.

Alam alias Doctor hails from Chatala village in Barpeta district and is alleged to have arranged money for the Indian modules of JMB.

"We are looking into some NGOs, which might have some

monetary transactions with jihadis. However, no serious money transaction with jihadis took place in Assam," Sarma said.

National Investigation Agency (NIA) had last month nabbed Alam's wife Suzena Begum but he has been on the run. NIA had also declared a reward of Rs 5 lakh for anyone providing any information about him.

When asked about other JMB suspects, the DGP said, "We are actively looking for five important persons who have the capability to impart motivational or operational trainings. Apart from that, around 50-60 youths are influenced by jihadi elements but police is not looking into arresting them. These people can be properly guided and brought back to mainstream."

The list includes five women cadres of JMB, he added.

He also said JMB does not have any operational training units in Assam nor has achieved a position in the state from where it can lead an attack.

"The operational training took place in West Bengal and Bangladesh. When JMB was banned in Bangladesh, they started looking for safe places in West Bengal and Assam. But the local Muslims in Assam never supported them," he said.

Sarma said some centres in Larkuchi such as market places, mosques and madrassas were, however, visited early this year by some senior leaders of JMB.

"These places are under our surveilance... The JMB could motivate some youths only in Dhubri, Nalbari and Barpeta districts although they tried to set up bases in Lower, Central and Barak Valley of Assam," he said.

He said JMB was trying to create a module by setting up an organisational base and then bring people from outside to carry out attacks here.

Sarma said the recurring ethnic violences in Bodoland

Territorial Area Districts have helped recruitment of youths by Islamic militant groups in the state.

Some people have been under the observation of Assam Police since last one year but no action could be taken due to lack of evidence, he added.

"The JMB leaders from Bangladesh tried to have a local identity by marrying Indian Muslim girls and then settle down here. One Assamese girl was married to one such person and settled in West Bengal," he said.

When asked if JMB had a link with Pakistani agency Inter-Services Intelligence, Sarma said, "With a pan-Islamic militancy, there is always a connection with ISI."

He, however, said there is no serious presence of other jihadi groups like al-Qaeda in Assam.

Alam's brother-in-law Mujibur Rahman in Larkuchi village claimed that he had tipped off the police about Alam's presence in his house, leading to his arrest.

The NIA had thrice searched Alam's house at Chatala village and seized some illegal documents, coins of Arabian countries, bank passbooks and money collection receipt books of Talimul Madrassa in West Bengal.

The ten arrested in Assam in connection with the Burdwan blast case include Alam, his wife Suzena Begum and brother Zakaria Ali.