Indian authorities said Monday they were investigating how an Islamic State (IS) suspect in custody got a weapon he allegedly used to try and slit a guard’s throat inside a high-security jail in West Bengal’s capital.
Mohammad Mosihuddin (alias Abu Musa), an inmate at Alipore Central Jail in Kolkata since his arrest in July 2016, attacked jail warder Gobinda Chandra Dey with a sharp iron object early Sunday while shouting extremist slogans, police said. Mosihuddin is being investigated in India for a possible link to an IS-claimed terrorist attack at a café in Bangladesh’s capital that same month.
“We have shifted him [Mosihuddin] to solitary confinement while we probe the attack,” Arun Kumar Gupta, the state’s director general and inspector general of Correctional Services, told BenarNews.
Ujjwal Biswas, West Bengal’s minister for Correctional Administration, said police had charged Mosihuddin with attempted murder.
“[A]n investigation is on. Jail authorities have also initiated an internal enquiry to find out how he got hold of the piece of metal,” Biswas told Benar.
Jail guard Dey was attacked when he unlocked Mosihuddin’s cell during a routine check at about 7 a.m., a prison official told BenarNews on condition of anonymity.
“[Mosihuddin] first hit the warder on the head with a stone and then tried to slit his throat while chanting Jihadi slogans. But other prison guards rushed to the spot in time and rescued him,” the source said.
Dey was being treated at a private hospital and was out of danger, police said.
Mosihuddin, 26, a West Bengal native, is under investigation by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the country’s top counter-terror agency, in connection with a terrorist siege at the Holey Artisan Bakery cafe in Dhaka that left 29 people dead, including 20 hostages and five gunmen on July 1-2, 2016.
He was arrested in West Bengal’s Burdwan district two days later, after Indian security agencies traced his calls and emails to Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Syria. He had an improvised gun, a 13-inch dagger and fake currency notes from Afghanistan and Syria, police said.
According to the NIA, Mosihuddin was asked to set up an IS cell in India by Bangladeshi national Abu Suleiman, a Jamaat-ul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) operative allegedly linked to the café siege, and who remains at large.
Mosihuddin is one of about 100 Indian Muslims who have been arrested and are facing trial for alleged links with the Middle East-based terror outfit.
In its charge-sheet filed against Mosihuddin last December, the NIA accused him of plotting attacks on the Mother Teresa Missionaries of Charity and other locations in Kolkata with the aim of targeting tourists from the United States, United Kingdom and Russia.
Last year, Bangladesh’s Rapid Action Battalion and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation sent teams to interrogate Mosihuddin.