Dhaka ,October 29 (Dhaka Tribune): The assault rifles used in the massacre at a posh Dhaka restaurant on July 1 this year were made in West Bengal with the help of Pakistani experts.
This was revealed to the Indian National Investigating Agency (NIA) by one of the six terrorists arrested by the Kolkata Special Task Force in September in connection with the Khagragarh blast, Times of India reports.
The deadly terrorist attack on the Holey Artisan Bakery had left 20 foreigners dead, including Indian teen Tarushi Jain. The five terrorists who were in were also killed.
According to the arrested terrorist, Pakistani tribal gunsmiths clandestinely visited Malda district of West Bengal to train gunsmiths from Munger, who had set up a base in the border district to make AK22 assault rifles. These weapons were then smuggled into Bangladesh via Chapainawabganj.
NIA investigators suspect that 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 are not 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 Had Suspected This Earlier
Bangladesh has already alleged that the weapons used in the Holey Artisan bakery attack were sourced from across the border.
The country’s counter-terrorism and trans-national crime chief Monirul Islam had categorically mentioned Munger in this connection. Thereafter, Bihar police had launched an investigation into the matter.
The Bihar police in a communique to the Bengal police has confirmed that the arms manufacturers and smugglers had set up units in Malda and other places in Bengal,” a Kolkata Special Task Force officer said.
The NIA believes the consignment of AK22 rifles and pistols reached the terrorists in Dhaka a month before the restaurant terror strike.
But what has intrigued the NIA officers is the duplication of AK22 rifles instead of the AK47, which is more popular among both terrorists and security agencies. A semi-automatic rifle originally manufactured in Romania, AK22 is uncommon in India, and hence, difficult to duplicate.
“The uncomplicated AK22 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 NIA officer said.
If expert gunsmiths did come from Darra Adam Khel to train men in Malda, investigation agencies have reasons to worry. For, these Pakistani tribals can copy nearly any weapon, from pen pistols and hand-grenades to automatic rifles and anti-aircraft guns. Darra gunsmiths are said to have the ability to duplicate any new rifle within 10 days.