Ikramul Haque alias Milan, who was arrested on charges of militancy, was the second-highest leader of Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), claimed Bangladesh police.
The law enforcers claim that Ikramul was involved with militant activities in India. He had the passport of India and his wife had the Aadhaar Card of that country.
An informed source said Ikramul was arrested on a tip-off that he is close with Osman Gani alias Abu Imran, the top leader of Ansar Al Islam in Bangladesh. After interrogation, Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police learnt that Ikramul was the chief of Dawah unit of Al Quaeda in India. The law enforcers of India had been searching for him as a ‘most wanted’ person. He goes by the names of Abu Talha and Mawlana Sabet.
CTTC said Ikramul and his wife Faria Afreen were arrested from the city’s Madartek area on 30 May and now in jail.
The duo were remanded several times. Ikramul later gave a confessional statement before the court.
Ikramul’s family, however, claimed the couple was picked up from Mymensingh on 30 April. Their child was with them at that time.
Rejecting the claim, CTTC officials said Ikramul and his wife were arrested in a drive on 30 May. The couple’s baby is in jail with the mother.
According to the deposition given in court, case statement and investigating agency, Ikramul is from Bororchar village of Mymensingh Sadar upazila. He completed Dawra e Hadith from Dhaka’s Faridabad Madrasa in 2017. He got involved with militancy under the influence of Ansar Al Islam’s Osman Gani while studying at the madrasa. Ikramul was admitted to Deobond madrasa in India in 2018 where he was involved with AQIS and became the organisation’s leader.
CTTC source said Ikramul at one point obtained an Indian passport under the alias of Nur Hossain, son of Sabu Mia and Nabiya Bibi. The address was given in Dinhata area of Cooch Bihar in India’s West Bengal. His wife also managed an Aadhaar Card under the name of Mariam Khatun. Ikramul is the deputy chief or second highest leader of AQIS. He is accused in at least 10 cases in India. Ikramul and his wife entered Bangladesh using an illegal route some seven months ago.
Sources said Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) of India on 24 May arrested four Bangladeshi youths from Gujarat on allegation of their involvement with AQIS. They are Mohammad Sajib, Munna Khaled Ansari, Ajharul Islam and Muminul Ansari. During interrogation, the four suspected militants claimed to have joined militancy through Ikramul Haque. Later Bangladeshi intelligence authorities also reportedly received similar information.
Earlier on 11 October last year, Indian Express in a report said the National Investigation Agency of India arrested three Bangladeshis from Madhya Pradesh’s Bhupal. Based on their information, ATS arrested eight more people from Uttar Pradesh.
An intelligence source in Dhaka said India’s ATS had been looking for Ikramul since last year. They later learnt the person had fled to Bangladesh. The intelligence agencies of Bangladesh received information on him at the middle of this year.
The report, referring to a press release of ATS, said the arrested persons were members of AQIS, JMB and Ansar Al Islam. AQIS and Bangladesh’s JMB were trying to enhance their networks in India.
An intelligence source in Dhaka said India’s ATS had been looking for Ikramul since last year. They later learnt the person had fled to Bangladesh. The intelligence agencies of Bangladesh received information on him at the middle of this year. CTTC had arrested him one month before receiving the information, which that intelligence had not known at the beginning.
CTTC officials said Ikramul’s wife Faria Afrin is also a member of the women wing of the militant group. Ikramul had contact with Ansar Al Islam’s chief Osman Gani alias Abu Imran and spokesperson Tamim Al Adnani.
SM Nazmul Haque, deputy commissioner of CTTC, told Prothom Alo that Ikramul and his wife were accused in an anti-terrorism case with Sabujbagh police station in Dhaka. The details of their activities have been learnt during remand for three times. Ikramul has already given a confessional statement in the court.
Nazmul said Ikramul is one of the top 23 leaders of AQIS.
Ikramul's arrest has foiled the militant organisation’s plan to carry out massive subversive activities, he added.