Kolkata, Feb 17 (IANS) The Special Task Force of Kolkata police on Saturday arrested an alleged operative of terror outfit Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), said to be directly involved in last year’s Bodh Gaya blast, an officer said.
Ariful Islam, 22, a resident of Panpara village in Assam’s Barpeta, was apparently plotting a conspiracy for securing the escape of Kausar – one of the key accused in Burdwan’s Khagragarh blast case of 2014 – from the Presidency Correctional Home (as jails are called in West Bengal).
He was taken into custody from central Kolkata’s Babughat area.
Islam, who worked as a helper with truck drivers, came in touch with JMB operatives Jahidul Islam alias Kausar and Abdul Majid, who invited him to join the outfit.
According to the police officer, Islam was in contact with Kausar, Kalu, Adil, Hassan alias Umar, Paigambar, Kader Gazi and other senior members of the JMB.
“In January 2018, he, along with Adil, Hassan, Chota Kareem and Kausar, had been to Bodh Gaya in Bihar… they conducted a recce, planted explosives and were directly involved in the Bodh Gaya blast,” he said.
Two crude bombs were recovered near the Mahabodhi temple in Bodh Gaya district where Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, was camping at that time.
According to district officials, a low intensity bomb blast had taken place near the site where the two crude bombs were found.
Bodh Gaya is a holy place for the Buddhists, as the religion’s founder Gautama Buddha is said to have obtained Enlightenment there under what became known as the Bodhi Tree.
After the Bodh Gaya blast, Islam fled to Bengaluru.
“However, he got involved in some dacoities in Bengaluru with his other associates,” the officer said.
“Islam had come to Kolkata for ‘some specific work’ regarding preparations for a plot to secure escape of Kausar from custody on way to court from jail,” he added.
Some papers, including a map of Kolkata, have been seized from him.
Charges under the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, waging war against the Indian government and conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code and under the Explosive Substances Act have been slapped against Islam.