Monday, August 8, 2022

Book reveals Bengal terror network’s Nagaland link

A hermaphrodite-run terror module based out of Burdwan in West Bengal more than two decades ago had a link with Nagaland’s commercial centre Dimapur, a book by a former intelligence officer has revealed, reports The Hindu.
Sheela Khan, a bisexual better known as Queen Bee, ran the module from Lakhipur Math in Burdwan for Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence or ISI and the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI) of Bangladesh. She fled to Bangladesh before the security forces could raid her hideout in 2001.
Dimapur was a transit point for the ISI. Consignments of cannabis, explosives and arms would find their way to Burdwan from Dimapur, packed to often escape security checks. Dimapur is known to be a hub of drugs and arms that come in from the adjoining Myanmar.
One Sale Ao, a Naga based in Dimapur was the contact of Khan and her associate Taher Ali, West Bengal’s former DGP, Dilip Mitra says in his book, “Operation Black Stiletto: Making India Bleed”.
The 45-chapter book with a diary-like narrative is based on his years in intelligence from 2001 to 2008. According to Mitra, the ISI had begun recruiting people in the Burdwan, Asansol and Durgapur belt since November 1996. Inputs he received from a “sister organisation” helped the police neutralise a few “ISI/DGFI networks”, but many remained undetected.
One such is said to have led to the November 2014 blast in Burdwan that killed two suspected Indian Mujahideen members.
Afghan acquaintance: Mitra recounts how an Afghan dry fruits seller he had saved from being thrashed by a few rowdies on Kolkata’s Theatre Road helped him decipher a document marked “confidential” that he had received. Written in Pashto, the document had come from an unnamed source in Afghanistan.
“It had been sent to someone in Dhaka with instructions to send it to someone who would take action on the contents. The contact in Dhaka sent it to one of the Afghans in Calcutta. This person sent it to me,” he writes.
The contents read out by the dry fruits seller corroborated an alert from a sister agency, warning of a possible terror attack in Kolkata.
The police sniffed a plot to assassinate former West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya and posted men around the Writers Building.
But the security in essence was “shocking, to say the least”. There were no roadblocks, no screening of individuals entering Writers, no pillboxes, no metal barriers and no pickets with sandbag protection, Mitra notes.
After the alert, he visited Writers and found a “pleasant enough” person in the room of the joint secretary who handled certain intelligence and immigration issues. “But something was not quite right with this man,” he writes. “He told me that he was a doctor and was working in a nursing home in Kalyani, a satellite town some 70 km north of Calcutta.”
The man panicked when the author asked a few questions on healthcare and illnesses and admitted he had entered India illegally from Bangladesh. The man also revealed he had been given a crash course in medicine during his stay in Pakistan and given a “beautifully forged” medical qualification. What the man, part of a terror network, said made it evident that “Black Stiletto was never short of deadly tricks”.
Black Stiletto was the codename for a series of sustained long-term anti-India covert operations, Mitra points out.


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