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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Kolkata: Safe sanctuary for NE terrorists?

SILCHAR, Nov 17: With heavy snowfall in Jammu & Kashmir during winter, terrorists from across the border find it difficult to infiltrate and indulge in subversive activities in the valley and beyond. Their preferred route, according to intelligence agencies, becomes Karachi-Dhaka-Kolkata for access to target destinations. Alerted by the Central Intelligence Wings, the Special Task Force (STF) is keeping close watch on the possibility of Pakistani terrorists crossing Indo-Bangla border for moving to Jammu & Kashmir through Kolkata and other vulnerable areas of West Bengal.

The alert comes in the wake of the recent warning by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) following its grilling of David Headley, an American, and his associates Tahawwur Hussain Rana, a Canadian born Pakistani, for their suspect role in Lashkar-e Toiba’s 26/11 Mumbai mayhem. The FBI probe came out with the information that some Pakistan-based terrorists had entered the country to plan and execute deadly strikes.

Two members of a terrorist outfits were arrested in Pune, details about them have not been shared by the security agencies with the media on tactical grounds.

Adverse climatic conditions and heavy security presence in Jammu & Kashmir have prompted the terrorists to skip PoK route, the intelligence inputs suggested, and added that despite pro-Indian stance of the Awami League land Government in Dhaka, there still exists emotional support bases for terrorists and logistic help from a section of opposition political and fundamental forces in Bangladesh as well as from the jihadi and fundamentalist forces, the sources pointed out.

STF in close coordination with the Central and the State intelligence agencies has activated their network across the border areas with Bangladesh and probable refuges of disruptive elements in towns and cities to keep tab on their movement. Some are already on the scanner of STF, the sources added. The BSF all along Bangladesh border has been put on maximum vigilance.

Sensitive and potential trouble areas of Kolkata which include New Market, Park Street, Tiljala, Topsia and Kidderpore are constantly under surveillance. Besides, hotels and guest houses are also under watch. Since the possibility of terrorists sneaking through Nepal border cannot be ruled out, agencies concerned are kept on alert.

Nepal has emerged as the cockpit of anti-Indian activities mainly instigated by ISI which has its presence in every terrorist group as revealed recently by the former president of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf while replying to questions by the American officials in Washington on the contacts of the secret agencies with terrorists as telecast by CNN.

Of concern is the fact that the capital of West Bengal has been a safe sanctuary for several terrorists in the past for carrying out blasts elsewhere. Northeast insurgents too have been tracked down from different parts of the city. Security and intelligence agencies have been able to trace a fake passport issuing centre in Kalyani to facilitate movement of cross-border terrorists. David Headley and Hussain Rana ran, FBI investigation revealed, illegal visa centre and First World Immigration Services with offices in Chicago, New York and Toronto at Tardeo in South Mumbai. THE SENTINEL

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