Salahuddin alias Salehin, the current chief of the terrorist group Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), has become a major headache for law enforcement agencies in both Bangladesh and India.
Hijacked out of a prison van in Trishal, Mymensingh in 2014, Salahuddin has been out of reach for the security services, despite their success in arresting many top terrorists in recent times.
Investigators in Bangladesh believe he is hiding somewhere in India. Officials from the Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit have discussed his possible whereabouts with the Indian Special Task Force and the National Intelligence Agency that recently visited Dhaka.
“Of course Salahuddin is one of our targets. After escaping from the prison van, he has been trying to reorganise the group,” CTTC Deputy Commissioner Mohibul Islam Khan said.
“According to our information, he is in India. We have informed the Indian side (and) they are also looking for him.”
A CTTC officer said Indian intelligence was also concerned about Salahuddin. They fear that if he is not caught, he might be able to reinvigorate the JMB.
“Salahuddin is a veteran JMB leader; he will not hide quietly. It is only natural that he will try to regroup but it will take him a long time to reorganise because most of their people are in jail and many top leaders have been hanged,” Mohibul Islam Khan said.
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Police wanted poster for Salahuddin[/caption]
Many JMB leaders moved to India after coming under pressure from law enforcement in Bangladesh. They were still able to run their operations from afar while also building up a small local following, enabling them to launch operations in India also.
Indian authorities were mostly ignorant of this, but were jolted into action by the 2014 Khagragarh explosion in Burdwan in West Bengal. CTTC officials say Indian intelligence has learned that the bombs being made in Khagragarh were intended for Bangladesh.
This came eight months after Salahuddin’s daring escape from his prison van, when militants attacked the convoy in Trishal and freed him along with two other terrorists.
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Police wanted poster for Salahuddin[/caption]
“Salahuddin has been with JMB since its inception. He worked with the founder Shaykh Abdur Rahman for a long time, so there are some concerns about him,” a CTTC official said.
“He is known to be a strong motivational speaker who can indoctrinate people quickly. He is also very dedicated.”
What JMB is planning now
In an interview Salahuddin gave to the terrorist YouTube channel Sahm Al Hind on July 13, he said JMB is reorganising with three main objectives: Dawah or motivation, training, and Kital or armed combat to establish Islam. This implies that JMB is trying to recruit new members.
“Our target is to attain heaven by ousting Shirk (idolatry) on Allah’s domain through Kital as prescribed by Allah, and establishing Tauheed (monotheism) or Allah’s law,” he said.
“Our main targets are the Aimmatul Kufr (leaders of Kufr). If their heads are smashed, the other parts will fall apart by themselves.”
Salahuddin said that the group thought that it was important in combat to consider costs and benefits.
“Our plan is to prioritise targets that bring effective and strong results,” he said.
He said the group was independent of the jihads that were “façades for implementing the agendas of Taghuti intelligence agencies, and wars for expanding territory based on nationalism.”
Asked about Ghazwa tul Hind (a set of Hadeeth which supposedly point to the conquest of the subcontinent by Muslims) Salahuddin said:
“The same way that Mujahids in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen and North African countries are fighting in jihads through Hizrat, we too are advancing our plan to establish Khilafah in Hindusthan (India).”
Who is Salahuddin?
Born on January 25, 1980 in Madhabpasha, Narayanganj, Salahuddin was a member of Islami Chhatra Shibir in his student life. He was appointed to Shibir’s Shathi rank in class 10 in 1997. The same year he was admitted to Sylhet Polytechnic Institute and then transferred to Dhaka Polytechnic, achieving a diploma in civil engineering.
Salahuddin was arrested in April 2006 from Chittagong’s Pahartali by RAB. Records of his interrogation reveal that in 1998, he was introduced to two persons named Nasrullah and Sanaullah by his brother, Abdul Matin, at Mohammadia Arabia Madrasa in Dhaka’s Jatrabari.
Those men introduced him to Shaykh Abdur Rahman and the same year he began travelling with him across the country to mobilise terrorist activities. In late 1999, he was appointed a member of JMB’s first Shura committee along with Rakib Hasan alias Mahfuz, Shehed Bin Hafiz and Rana.
JMB began officially in 2001. Salahuddin was given the death sentence in a murder case and in the bombing of Mymensingh court case in 2007.
This article was first published on Bangla Tribune