DHAKA (Reuters) - India has handed Bangladesh a list of 11 men suspected of plotting attacks including one targeting its prime minister, officials said on Wednesday, as the two countries tighten security cooperation against Islamist militants.
Indian security officials uncovered the plot against Sheikh Hasina last month after two members of a banned Bangladesh group were killed in an explosion while building bombs in India’s West Bengal state just over the border from Bangladesh.
The men were believed to be members of the outlawed Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh who were using India as a safe haven to plan the attacks.
The plot deepened concern in India that jihadist groups were setting up bases in the east of the country while security forces have been focused on the threat from Pakistan-based militants on the more heavily guarded western flank.
A team headed by the chief of India’s National Investigations Agency, the main counter-terrorism arm, held talks with Bangladeshi officials in Dhaka and handed over the list of suspects thought to be hiding there, Mufti Mahmud Khan, an official of the Rapid Action Battalion said.
Under Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh has been working closely with India to tackle militant groups including handing over people that India suspects of stirring trouble in the remote northeast region.
Khan said Bangladesh had given the Indian team its own list of wanted men - 51 in all, most of them suspected of criminal acts who had slipped across the porous border into India.
The Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen was thought to have been lying low since authorities cracked down on it after it detonated nearly 500 bombs almost simultaneously on one day in 2005 across Bangladesh, including in the capital, Dhaka.
Its militants later carried out suicide attacks on several courthouses, killing 25 people and wounding hundreds.
Reporting by Ruma Paul; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani