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The Madhubani connection

The Madhubani connection

Author: Santosh Singh
Publication: The Indian Express
Date: December 6, 2011
URL: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/the-madhubani-connection/884410/0

When Gayur Ahmed Jamali and Mohd Adil alias Ajmal were picked up from Darbhanga and Madhubani respectively 10 days ago, it was the sixth big arrest with terror links in this area bordering Nepal in the past five years.

Bihar shares a 625-km border with Nepal, of which 73 km falls in Madhubani district. This is a largely porous border, and with families on either side having relatives or land on the other side, it is easy to cross over unnoticed.

The first inkling of the emergence of a Madhubani module came in October 2005 when an Intelligence Bureau and Delhi Police team swooped down on the Jaynagar telephone exchange along the Indo-Nepal border. A look at call records of the earlier few years showed that the 125-km stretch from Raxaul in East Champaran district to Jaynagar in Madhubani reported the most number of ISD calls of the six Bihar districts bordering Nepal. Basopatti, Jaynagar and Laukaha reported some 500 ISD calls, mostly to and from the Gulf countries, in 2005. Intelligence agencies found that two dozen youths of Madhubani villages had left homes and not been back for a long time.

RJD Bisfi MLA and prominent Muslim leader from Madhubani Faiyaz Ahmed refused to talk about the arrests, saying, "These are tricky matters. Please spare me."

Madhubani BJP MLA Ramdev Mahato said the "open Nepal border" was "bringing terror to this region". "Terrorists have been luring misguided youths who want shortcuts in life," Mahato said, adding that terror has no religion. The arrests:

July 20, 2006: A Mumbai ATS team (of which the late Hemant Karkare was a part) came to Basopatti village and arrested Mohammed Kamal Ansari in connection with the Mumbai serial train blasts. Investigations later revealed that Kamal, a former bicycle puncture repair man, had come in contact with Shah Bano, based in Janakpur, Nepal, who ran an NGO working in rural development but was believed to be associated with the Lashkar-e-Toiba. This was the first known case of the LeT trying to recruit youths from Nepal and Bihar. Shah Bano is alleged to have recruited Kamal for the LeT, said an IPS officer. She remains at large.

November 12, 2007: A resident of Gandhwar village (under Sakri, the same place from where Gayur was arrested), Mohammed Sabauddin alias Farhan was arrested in Lucknow for the Rampur CRPF camp attack case and the Jaipur science conference firing. Sabauddin had done Bachelor's in Pharmacy from Aligarh Muslim University. His acquaintances said he had been a very sharp boy and a good cricketer. Sabauddin's father Mohammed Abdul Qadir is a samiti member in the Brahmin-dominated panchayat. Though acquitted in one case, Sabauddin, a suspected Lashkar commander, is facing trial in other cases. He is believed to have recruited several youths from Madhubani and Janakpur in Nepal.

July 9, 2008: UP ATS team arrested a Jaynagar resident in Lucknow for alleged links with the Sarojini Nagar blast in Delhi in 2005. Pappu Khan is a resident of Andra village of Jaynagar.

October 14, 2008: The UP ATS team arrested Mohamed Khalil, another Jaynagar resident, from Lucknow for the Delhi serial blasts.

August 17, 2009: Omar Madani, a Basopatti resident but operating from adjoining Mahua village of Nepal, was arrested from Mehrauli, Delhi, where had gone to allegedly "deliver a target" to Lashkar links. A respected teacher, it was tough to narrow down on him, said a senior police officer. Madani was accused of training terror recruits.

November 24-25, 2011: Gayur Ahmed Jamali and and Mohd Adil alias Ajmal arrested, blamed for attacks in Pune, Bangalore, Delhi.

According to Jamali's neighbours, police treaded with utmost caution on his arrest, never telling the family about his alleged terror links. Said a senior Madhubani police officer: "We do get tip-offs from IB at regular intervals but we have to very cautious as any unwarranted arrest can cause communal tension."

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