On interrogation, the police discovered that the woman, Ayesha Jannat Mohona, was a Hindu who converted to Islam when she was in Class 9.
The woman’s original name was Pragya Debnath and she hailed from Paschim Keshabpur village that falls under the Dhaniakhali police station of Hooghly district adjoining Kolkata. In high school, Pragya’s best friend was a Muslim girl and under her influence, Pragya secretly converted to Islam in 2009.
Pragya also secretly adopted the Muslim name (Ayesha Jannat Mohona) and was radicalised by Salafi clerics in her home district. A few years ago, she came in touch with leaders of the JMB’s women’s cell and was recruited to the organisation. The cell’s chief, Asmani Khatoon alias ‘Bondi Jibon’ played a major role in recruiting her.
Ayesha (alias Pragya) was tasked with enticing Hindu girls to convert to Islam and then introducing them to radical Salafi clerics to prepare them for their induction into the JMB, which has a strong presence in Bengal.
in The Daily Star quotes CTTC assistant commissioner Sk. Imran Hossain as saying that Mohona started traveling regularly to Dhaka in 2016. She obtained a fake Bangladeshi birth certificate and, through it, a Bangladeshi National Identity card. Apart from these fake documents, an Indian passport was recovered from her possession.
Mohona was also tasked with collecting funds for the organisation. Hossain said: “Mohona married Bangladeshi national Amir Hossain Saddam recently over the phone as he is now staying in Oman. On her husband’s suggestion, she started living in Bangladesh from August 10 last year”.
She took up residence in Dhaka and started working as a religious teacher in some madrassas in the city’s Keraniganj and Narayanganj areas. Her primary task was to identify teenagers and young adults who could be radicalised and indoctrinated to join the JMB.
After Mohona’s mentor Asmani Khatun was arrested by CTTC on 5 February this year, Mohona stopped teaching at the madrassas and started working on the JMB’s social media platforms to reach out to youngsters.
Police say that she successfully recruited some young girls into the JMB over the past few months. She had crossed the international border illegally a few times. Police officers told The Daily Star that after her arrest and during interrogation, Mohona was calm and composed and showed no signs of unease. This has led them to believe that the woman is highly indoctrinated and committed to the terror outfit.
The policy of Muslim appeasement followed by the Left Front and then the Trinamool in Bengal has resulted in radical Islamist clerics getting a free run in the state. Hardline and regressive Salafi clerics have set up thousands of madrassas and mosques with funds from the Middle East all over Bengal where radical Islam is preached.
Many terrorists of the JMB, against which the Sheikh Hasina government in Bangladesh launched a crackdown a few years ago, have taken refuge in Bengal. Many of them have been arrested from the state as well.