Dhaka : India's 'most wanted' Al Qaida terrorist, Ikramul Haque alias Abu Talha was arrested in Bangladesh along with his wife in a raid recently, Bangladesh daily Prothomalo reported.
Ikramul Haque was apparently arrested from the Sabuj Bagh area of the capital Dhaka. He was arrested on May 30, soon after the Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime Unit (CTTC) officials of Dhaka came to know that Abu Talha, the top leader of the Dawah wing of the international terrorist organization Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) ), got involved in militancy while studying in Deoband, India.
Quoting CTTC as saying, Prothomalo reported that CTTC, the crime unit of Dhaka said Ikramul and his wife Faria Afreen were arrested from the city's Madartek area on May 30 and are now in jail.
The duo was remanded several times.
The Daily Prothom Alo is a daily newspaper in Bangladesh, published from Dhaka in the Bengali language. It is the largest circulated newspaper in Bangladesh.
According to a Dhaka-based intelligence source, India's ATS has been seeking Ikramul since last year, Prothomalo reported.
Later, they discovered the individual had escaped to Bangladesh. At the halfway point of this year, information about him was provided to Bangladesh's intelligence services. One month before obtaining the information, CTTC had detained him, which intelligence was unaware of at first.
CTTC officials also stated that Ikramul's wife Faria Afrin is also a member of the women's wing of the militant group.
Moreover, Abu Talha also fraudulently obtained Indian citizenship in the name of himself and his wife Faria Afrin Anikar. Indian Aadhaar cards and passports were also found in their names.
The Head of Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime Unit (CTTC) of Dhaka and Additional Commissioner of DMP Asad Uz Zaman told Bangla Tribune, 'Ikramul Haque alias Abu Talha is the top leader of AQIS. There are at least 10 cases against him in India. He was most wanted by Indian law enforcement agencies. Recently, after some Bangladeshis were arrested as members of AQIS in Gujarat, they also named Abu Talha as a recruiter. Abu Talha, along with his wife, was arrested in a raid recently.”
According to sources, in October 2022, the Anti-Terrorism Squad arrested 8 AQIS members from Bhopal in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. Some of the militants arrested at that time were Bangladeshis. During interrogation, they identified Inamul Haque alias Abu Talha as their top leader to Indian law enforcement agencies.
On May 24 of this year 2023, the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) arrested 4 more AQIS members from Gujarat, India. All four of them were Bangladeshi citizens. During interrogation, they gave information to Indian Law Enforcement Agencies about Ikramul Haque alias Abu Talha as their recruiter, the sources said.
CTTC officials said that they got information about Abu Talha after arresting a militant Khaled named Saifullah from Narayanganj in 2011.
Abu Talha was then known as 'Maulana Sabet' in the militant group.
Khaled Saifullah then informed the Counter Terrorism Unit officials that Maulana Sabet was the top leader of AQIS. He regularly trained and recruited members for AQIS in India and Bangladesh by being in India.
According to CTTC sources, first, he went to India on a tourist visa and was admitted to Deoband, but later he collected an Indian Aadhaar card in the name of Noor Hossain.
The crackdown against AQIS started in India with the arrest of a prominent Bangladeshi leader of the terrorist organization by Assam Police in March 2022. According to sources, the arrest was a result of several months of intelligence operations run by Assam Police going back to at least September 2021. Subsequently, there have been more than 50 arrests all across the country. The latest of these was by Gujarat ATS last month where 5 AQIS operatives from Bangladesh were arrested.
Notably, the intelligence agencies of Bangladesh received information on Abu Talha in the middle of this year, Prothomalo reported. CTTC had arrested him one month before receiving the information.