Pakistani Gunsmiths Trained Locals In Bengal With State Police Blissfully Unaware
Assault rifles used in the Gulshan cafe attack in Dhaka on July 1 were made in Bengal with the help of Pakistani experts, one of the six terrorists arrested by Kolkata STF in September in connection with the Khagragarh blast has told NIA sleuths. The deadly terror attack had left 20 foreigners dead, including Indian teen Tarishi Jain. The five terrorists were also killed.
According to the arrested terrorist, Pakistani tribal gunsmiths clandestinely visited Malda to train gunsmiths from Munger, who set up base in the border district to make AK-22 assault rifles. These weapons were then smuggled into Bangladesh via Chapainawabgunj.
The NIA investigators suspect the Pakistanis who conducted the training were from the Darra Adam Khel community that resides in a village located between Peshawar and Kohat. The community is believed to regularly help the Taliban in duplicating modern weapons.
“We aren't sure yet but the language they mentioned is spoken in and around the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan where the village is located,“ a senior NIA officer said.
Bangladesh has already alleged that the weapons used in the Holey Artisan Bakery attack were sourced from across the border. Bihar police had launched an investigation after Bangladesh's counterterrorism and trans-national crime chief Monirul Islam categorically mentioned that the arms used in the Gulshan cafe attack came from Munger.
“The Bihar police in a communique to Bengal police has confirmed that the arms manufacturers and smugglers had set up units in Malda and other places in Bengal,“ an STF officer said.
NIA believes the consignment of AK-22 rifles and pistols reached the terrorists in Dhaka a month before the Gulshan terror strike.
But what has intrigued NIA officers is the duplication of AK-22 rifles instead of the AK-47, which is more popular among terrorists and security agencies alike. A semi-automatic rifle, originally manufactured in Romania, AK-22 is uncommon in India, and hence, difficult to duplicate.
“The uncomplicated AK-22 is a low-range weapon, easy to use by even greenhorns and has a short range. It was the perfect weapon for the youngsters who carried out the terror attack in the Dhaka bakery ,“ an officer said.
If expert gunsmiths did come from Darra Adam Khel to train men in Malda, investigation agencies have reasons to worry . These Pakistani tribals can copy nearly any weapon.Darra gunsmiths are said to have the ability to duplicate any new rifle within 10 days.
These shocking revelations carried in a report in The Times of India bares not only the laxity and incompetence of the West Bengal police, but also how the entire state machinery has lowered its guard under the Chief Ministership of Mamata Banerjee.
In pic: one of the numerous illegal Gun factories at Darra Adam Khel