Kolkata: With the latest and important arresting by Special Task Force (STF), Kolkata, on Tuesday, the looming threat on the atheist bloggers of Bangladesh may see some respite. The STF has nabbed a total of five active members, of the terror outfit Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT), with the arrest of Umar Farooque, at the Indo-Nepal border.
ABT has been declared as terror outfit in Bangladesh. It has been allegedly involved in the brutal murders of free thinking bloggers of the country. Farooque, a Dhaka resident, is wanted in a number of murder cases in Bangladesh. He has sneaked into India, after his plan to kill a Dhaka University professor was foiled by the Bangladeshi police.
He was arrested on a specific lead by Shahadat, who had been arrested from Sealdah Station, just a few days after two other aides of Farooque, Samsad Mia alias Tanvir and Riazul Islam alias Riaz, both Bangladesh nationals, had been picked up from Kolkata Station along with Monotosh De, an arms dealer from Bashirhat. Both Samsad and Riaz had fake adhar cards too. Following their arrest, STF Kolkata had circulated pictures, of ABT member, Nayan Gazi alias Zofar and Shopon Biswas, alias Tamim, seeking information about there whereabouts from public. They have have even declared a reward for the informers. But the duo are still at large.
Speaking to eNewsroom, officer heading the STF team, Murlidhar Sharma, said, “Those arrested, are active members of ABT, but they are of the explosives wing of the dreaded terror outfit. We had specific tip offs, following which we were able to nab them.”
However, none of the ABT members arrested in Kolkata were using Bengal as their base, but only as a transit point. “Those arrested, had been living in Hyderabad. They had their agent or connect in Bengal, who helped them transit from West Bengal to Hyderabad. We have also recovered a hit-list from those interested. It has the name of a blogger Faruk Sadiq,” informed Sharma.
While the news of these active members of ABT is making it to the headlines, but it has not been reported much in Bangladeshi media. A senior Dhaka-based journalist, told eNewsroom, “We have heard about the arrests, but the Dhaka police has yet to tell about these arrests.”
Speaking of ABT, he said, “ABT activities has a long history. They are connected with murder of bloggers in Bangladesh. Mufti Rayhani is their chief. Now he is in jail.” Significantly, just a few days ahead of STF Kolkata arresting the ABT members, another member of the group, was arrested in Bangladesh. He was involved in the murder of blogger Avijit Roy.
Blogging is a major concern in Bangladesh, especially if the author is an atheist, secularist or endorser of LGBT community. In the last three years, a number of vocal or free-thinking bloggers have been under attack since 2013. ABT has taken the responsibility of killing many of these bloggers. Fearing death many bloggers have been living in exile in European countries like Germany and UK to name a few.