Kolkata: The arrest of nine terrorists, including six from West Bengal, and busting of an al-Qaeda module on Saturday has triggered a political blame game in the state with opposition BJP and Congress alleging that intelligence failure and appeasement politics of the Mamata Banerjee government have led to such a pass.
The ruling Trinamool Congress on the other hand said the arrests can not be construed as failure on the part of the state administration which is committed to flush out terrorists.
The opposition is politicising an issue involving national security, the TMC said.
Leader of Congress party in Lok Sabha, Adhir Choudhury said the arrest of six alleged al-Qaeda operatives from Murshidabad district shows “total intelligence failure on the part of state police who are only busy running errands for Trinamool Congress leaders.”
“It throws up the question whether the state administration is competent enough to tackle the spurt in terrorist activities in state. Earlier, we had heard about numerous cases of Jamat activists arrested. Now it is al-Qaeda, the most dreaded terror outfit in the world.
“This brings bad name to Murshidabad district which has borders with Bangladesh, to entire West Bengal,” Chowdhury, the WBPCC President said.
He alleged that these incidents send out the message of “communalisation pof olitics which does not augur well for the state.”
Flaying the TMC government, senior BJP leader Rahul Sinha said the state should shun “appeasement politics, dirty communal politics and take strong measures against terror modules setting up their bases in state.”
Sinha blamed the TMC of practicing votebank politics “which prevents the administration from taking any affirmative steps against terrorists.”
“Remember the RDX blast at Bowbazar over two decades back. The entire state is now sitting on a powder keg. If the administration doesn’t sit up and take note, Bengal will be in flames,” Sinha said.
Countering the allegations, TMC MP Sougata Roy said the arrests should not lead to any question about the state government’s resolve to flush out and crush terrorists.
Roy said the terrorists cross over to this side of the border which is manned by central forces.
“The border forces could have been more vigilant,” he said adding there should be better coordination between the state and BSF.
He said there should be more vigil by the border guards so that infiltration can be thwarted and those coming to this side are tracked.
About the opposition charges, the veteran TMC leader said “They are doing politics over an issue of national security”.
In early morning raids at Ernakulam in Kerala and Murshidabad in West Bengal, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Saturday busted an inter-state module of al-Qaeda operatives and arrested nine persons.
The agency arrested six terrorists from West Bengal and three from Kerala.
Murshid Hasan, Iyakub Biswas, Mosaraf Hossen from Ernakulam and Najmus Sakib, Abu Sufiyan, Mainul Mondal, Leu Yean Ahmed, Al Mamun Kamal and Atitur Rehman from Murshidabad were arrested by the premier investigating agency.
A preliminary probe revealed that the arrested men were radicalised by Pakistan-based al-Qaeda terrorists on social media platforms and were motivated to launch attacks at multiple locations, including in the National Capital Region.