GUWAHATI, India (Reuters) – Indian police have arrested a key suspect behind a blast in the state of West Bengal who is also believed to have been involved in a plot to assassinate Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh and stage a coup there.
Shahnor Alom, who was arrested in a village in the northeastern state of Assam on Friday night, is an operative of a banned Bangladeshi group active in eastern India, a senior intelligence officer said on Saturday. “Based on specific intelligence, he was caught last night hiding in his relative’s house in a village in Nalbari district,” the officer, who did not wish to be identified as he is not authorised to speak to the media, told Reuters.
Indian security officials uncovered the plot against Hasina in October after two members of the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh were killed in an explosion while building homemade bombs in Burdwan, in West Bengal, which borders Bangladesh.
Alom had been on the run since October 2.
The Assam Police and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) have taken him into custody and he will appear in court in Guwahati – Assam’s main city – on Saturday afternoon, the police said. Alom’s 36-year-old wife, also a suspect slapped with similar charges, was arrested in Guwahati on November 8.
Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen was thought to have been lying low since authorities cracked down on it after it detonated nearly 500 bombs almost simultaneously on one day in 2005 across Bangladesh, including in the capital, Dhaka. Mainly Muslim Bangladesh has suffered three major army coups and two dozen smaller rebellions since gaining independence from Pakistan in 1971 in a war that killed and displaced millions.