What is the relationship between PFI, who were recently banned in India, and JMB?
New Delhi, October 11: Recently in India, there is a lot of discussion and criticism about the decision to ban a Muslim organization called Popular Front of India (PFI). It is to be noted that one of the reasons given by the government behind banning PFI is that they had close relations and collusion with the militant organization JMB or Jamaatul Mujahideen of Bangladesh.
This matter has confused many. Because the JMB has been banned in Bangladesh for a long time and they were banned in India in 2019. No activities of the JMB have been heard in Bangladesh for a long time. It is considered virtually extinct. Still, as usual, the question has been raised about the relationship between the Popular Front and the JMB.
A detailed dossier (document) has been prepared by the NIA (National Investigation Agency), India's top anti-terrorism agency, as part of the Ministry of Home Affairs' gazette notification.
These are: -
a) After the JMB was banned in Bangladesh and the administration and security forces cracked down on its activists, many members of the organization fled to neighboring India. Many of them take refuge in Muslim-majority areas of Assam, West Bengal, Jharkhand and even faraway Karnataka.
b) After coming to India the JMB members gradually resumed their activities with the larger aim of building 'Jamaatul Mujahideen Hindustan'. But they tend to be done absolutely 'silently'. Their main tasks at this stage were twofold—raising funds and selecting and recruiting 'vulnerable' youth from within the Muslim community. They chose local madrasas and mosques and social media for this work.
c) The NIA document also says that training of Indian recruits in weapons also continued. Where there was opportunity, cadres were taught bomb making. And where there was no opportunity, training was given on how to deal with the enemy by making indigenous weapons like bow and arrow. It is reported that several such 'camps' have also been found in remote areas of Jharkhand.
d) After the JMB's involvement in the Khagragarh blasts in Burdwan, West Bengal in October 2014 came to light, a massive operation against them was launched across West Bengal and Assam and more than 50 JMB members were arrested. Besides, many JMB bomb-making 'factories' were discovered, from which hundreds of powerful bombs were recovered.
e) According to NIA information, it was at this stage that JMB's closeness with PFI began. PFI however was formed much earlier (2006) by the amalgamation of three Muslim organizations in Kerala. After about ten years, their network gradually spread across India. Many members and cadres of the JMB then became members of the PFI or took refuge under its umbrella to avoid arrest.
f) PFI identifies itself primarily as a socio-political organization, which agitates on various issues related to the interests of Indian Muslims. Along with doing social service work, ex-JMB members gradually got involved in that too. The NIA document says that even in the massive relief operation carried out by the PFI in Assam's devastating floods this year, many of its relief workers in Bengali-speaking areas of the state were former members of the JMB.
India's NIA has pointed out such instances as evidence of the deep relationship between PFI and JMB. They are even claiming that Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba was also linked to PFI through JMB. Because Pakistan's Lashkar had been in contact with Bangladesh's JMB for many years.
Last month, the NIA filed a charge sheet against six suspected militants in a special court in Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh. All of whom they described as JMB members. According to the chargesheet, they were involved in a conspiracy to carry out sabotage in India.
The important thing is that out of these 6 people, three (Fazal Ali, Waliullah Milan, Zainal Abedin) have been identified as JMB members from Bangladesh and the other three as JMB members from India. One of these Indians is from Katihar district of Bihar and two from Vidisha district of Madhya Pradesh.
As a result, the fact that JMB has not been abolished almost four years after it was banned in India, has practically been accepted in the charge sheet of NIA. Not only that, India also recognized that by banning the Popular Front, they were making themselves increasingly strong by joining hands with the PFI.