ill recently, Khagragarh used to be a nondescript point on the map of West Bengal. Not
As thousands thronged puja pandals in
Kolkata October 2 to offer prayers to Goddess
The large number of watch dials, SIM cards and other
tools required to make improvised explosive devices seized
by the police from the house indicated that it was no ordinary explosion.
The explosion blew the lid off a terror network that has
been thriving in the state for years — some of the SIM cards
recovered from the blast site were more than five years old.
The National Investigation Agency, which was handed
over the probe October 17 over the head of a reluctant state
government, has been coordinating with the state police
and the criminal investigation department to get to the
bottom of the case.
October 17, the Central Investigation Department came
up with shocking revelation that the militants had chalked
out a plan to set off serial blasts in Kolkata and parts of
West Bengal during Durga Puja and Eid-al Adha.
“They had visited the city many times and shortlisted
some pandals and shopping malls as targets,” sources told
A large number of bombs, explosives, IEDs, fake voter
identity cards and Aadhar cards were seized from the site
of the explosion along with pamphlets and leaflets propagating the ideology of Al Qaeda and even Chechen
rebels, senior police officers involved with the case told
Even though Bengal Home Secretary Basudeb Banerjee
denied it, video footage shown on regional television channels confirmed the police statement.
While one of the militants, Shakil Ahmed, was killed on
the spot, his associate Sovan Mandal died at the Burdwan
Medical College and Hospital a few hours later. Shakil
hailed from Nadia and Sovan was from East Medinipore.
An injured Abdul Hakim alias Hasan, who hails from
Lalgola in Murshidabad district, was admitted to the same
hospital in a serious condition, and was shifted to Kolkata’s
SSKM Hospital later.
Shakil’s wife Gulshana Bibi alias Rumi and Hasan’s wife
Alima alias Amina Bibi, who were in the house at the time
of the explosion, were arrested and interrogated.
According to insiders in the state CID, cadres of the terror outfit Jamat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh, a wing of the
Harkat-ul Jihadi Islami-Bangladesh, were involved in the
Other agencies probing the case claim to have found evidence that the banned Students Islamic Movement of India
assisted the Khagragarh terror module with logistics and
The two women arrested by the police apparently
received training at a madrasa located at Simulia in
Hasan Chowdhury, owner of the two-storey house at Khagragarh, is a retired government servant. One of his sons is a homoeopathic doctor and has chambers on the ground floor of the same house, while
Chowdhury lives next door.
Though Chowdhury refused to speak to India Abroad
despite repeated attempts, one of his kin said,
“Chowdhury saheb had let out the first floor to Shakil for a
monthly rent of Rs 4,700 ($78 and 33 cents) on the
request of a family friend.”
This was corroborated by Abdul Gaffar, the inspector-in-
charge, Bardhaman police station.
“Though he claims to be getting Rs 4,700 as rent, we
believe the rent was much higher,” the officer told India
Abroad, “We have been questioning Chowdhury to find out
if he had any connection with the tenants. Since we seized
a number of fake IDs from the blast site, we need to inves-
tigate if he had verified his tenants’ antecedents.”
Investigators are of the opinion that the militants chose
Chowdhury’s house because of its vantage location.
“The house has three exits — one to the highway leading
to Birbhum, the other towards Bankura, and third that
leads to Lalgola in Murshidabad, close to the Bangladesh
What went on inside BengalÊs house of terror?
Indrani Roy digs up chilling details of the ongoing investigation into the Bardhaman blast case, which has exposed the militant network that had been operating in West Bengal for many years
DIPAK CHAKRABOR T Y
The two-storey house at Khagragarh where the militants had been living on rent.