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Police glare on criminals from across the border

Police glare on criminals from across the border

Author: Avijit Nandi Majumdar
Publication: The Telegraph
Date: December 26, 2002

Police have arrested three persons in connection  with the Christmas plunder of Maliapota Catholic church in Tehatta  and suspect the raid was carried out by a gang comprising criminals  from Nadia and Meherpur and Rajshahi districts in Bangladesh.
Nadia police picked up Latif, 25, from Chapra, Subol Ghosh, 24, from  Sompukur and Azibur, 26, from Thanerpara areas this afternoon.
"There were over 1,300 people in the church and most of them saw the  criminals. From the initial description of the criminals by the  witnesses and the information we received from our local sources, it  became evident that Latif, Azibur and Subol were involved in the  incident," Murshidabad range deputy inspector-general D.P. Tarenia  said. "Police teams separately raided the places where the three had  taken shelter and arrested them," he added.
Investigators quoting from the statement of church chief Father T.J.  Abraham said about 20 criminals armed with bombs, pipeguns and  revolvers raided the church while midnight mass was on.
Tarenia said the arrested trio has told interrogators that Milan  Sheikh, Ziauddin Alam and Refiqual Islam - all three from Bangladesh -  were the brains behind the attack.
Investigators said they have collected the names of 12 suspects,  apart from the arrested trio. Sources said five of them are from  Nakasipara, Chapra, Tehatta and Taherpur in Nadia. "The seven others  are from Meherpur and Rajshahi. They used to thrive on lifting  cattle, but have graduated to robbery and looting," a Tehetta  policeman said.
The church, standing barely five km from the international border, is  located in an area where people walk into Bangladesh and return  without being challenged by security forces.
Chapra police said Sheikh and Alam had been arrested earlier for  robbery in Fulia and Bagamara in Nadia and were pushed back across  the border.
The district police admitted that in the beginning of the year there  was a spurt in dacoities, but this is the first time the robbers have  targeted a place of worship.
Tarenia said it is difficult to verify the identity of Bangladeshi  criminals. "Eyewitnesses could make out from their dialect that they  are Bangladeshis. It is impossible to crosscheck their names and  addresses without the cooperation of the Bangladesh police," he said.

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