A new chapter of Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) has been formed in India under the banner of Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen India (JMI), confirmed Salahuddin Salehin and Jahidul Islam, two terrorists on Bangladesh’s most wanted list.
Both Bangladesh and India have offered rewards for any information related to the absconding duo.
According to the Hindustan Times, the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen’s media wing Sahm al Hind shared an interview of Salahuddin, who described himself as ameer (chief) of JMB.
In India, Jahedul is a close associate of Salahuddin and is also known as Bomaru Mizan or Kausar.
In the interview, which is being circulated online, Salahuddin said: “We are working to ensure that Hindustan [India], too, turns into a centre for Hijrat [migration for religious battle] and jihad, so that we, as the people of India, can play a major role in the foundation of the next caliphate.”
Salahuddin says the reason he gave the interview was to demonstrate “they have been able to manage to build the organisation afresh to a certain extent.”
He also spoke about Ghzwat ul Hind, which translates to conquest of India.
Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Police Muralidhar Sharma, who is heading the Special Task Force (STF) of Kolkata Police, recently arrested six alleged JMB operatives. However, Sharma indicated he was unaware of the interview.
At present, five JMB suspects are being held and interrogated to obtain information about Salahuddin and Jahidul for their alleged connection with the Bodh Gaya blast on January 19.
Salahuddin who has been a senior leader of JMB since 2001, has openly criticized the Syria-based Islamic State (IS), making it clear that he follows al-Qaeda, JMB’s original "role model".
Earlier in February 2014, both Salahuddin and Jahidul made their escape in Mymensingh following an ambush on a prison van carrying them. As per an intelligence officer who wished to remain anonymous, the pair are believed to be hiding in India.
According to India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA), the duo has also been named in Khagragarh blast in Burdwan district of West Bengal which exposed a flourishing JMB network in India.
NIA has declared Rs500,000 reward for credible information related to each of the wanted men, whereas Bangladesh’s Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit also announced rewards of Tk5 lakh on both.
Hailing from the district of Narayanganj in Bangladesh, Salahuddin is also known by the aliases of Sunny, Hafizur Rehman Sheikh, and Mahin. In India, Salahuddin’s address up until the Khagragarh blast was Nimra village, Kirnahar, Birbhum in West Bengal.
Jahidul also goes by Bomaru Mizan and is originally from Khalifapara in Jamalpur district, which is also the native village of JMB’s founding chief Sheikh Abdur Rehman. Sheikh used to lead JMB’s explosive wing from 2006 till his arrest in 2009.
After escaping to India, the pair joined forces with other hidden JMB associates and started building up a base in Bengal, Assam, and Jharkhand.
In the interview, Salahuddin also criticized elements of JMB operatives in Bangladesh, commonly referred to as Nobyo or New JMB. He criticized the former JMB wing for taking part in the attack at the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka in July 2016 and accused them for pledging their allegiance to Islamic State. A total of 24 people, including 17 foreign nationals who were dining at the restaurant, were killed in the attack.