21-yr-old woman arrested in Bengal for LeT links

Kolkata, Mar 20 (PTI) A 21-year-old woman has been arrested in West Bengal's North 24 Parganas district for her alleged links with terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), a senior police officer said on Friday.

The woman, an MA final-year student of a well-known college in the city, has been booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and various sections of the IPC related to sedition, he said.

She had been allegedly recruiting women for the LeT and circulating purported anti-national content through WhatsApp groups, created using Pakistani SIM cards, the officer said.

Preliminary probe suggests that she also had links with Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

'The woman had been working as a recruiter for the terror outfit in Bengal. She was entrusted with the job of boosting its presence in the state as well as in eastern part of India... Our officers had been monitoring her after an alert was issued in 2019 by the Home Ministry,' the police officer said.

The accused, who was nabbed from her residence in Baduria area of North 24 Parganas district on Wednesday night, had migrated from Bangladesh to India a decade ago. The daughter of a mason, she was pursuing post-graduation in Arabic literature.

'She has links with senior Lashkar-e-Taiba leaders in Pakistan. During questioning, she admitted to have spoken to a few top leaders of the terror outfit recently. She would call them through WhatsApp. It is through them that she was introduced to the ISI.

'The woman was working as a honey trap for Pakistan's ISI and had come in touch with several government officials,' the officer explained.

Documents, including a diary, and a mobile phone have been seized from her, he said.

'We don't know yet whether she had managed to gather any vital information from the government officials. We are trying to get in touch with them too. As of now, we have found out that she recruited a few women. Efforts are being made to identify them.' The accused was remanded in police custody for 14 days after being produced before the additional chief judicial magistrate's court in Basirhat on Thursday.

'She has been brought to the city on transit remand and we are interrogating her,' the officer added. PTI SCH RMS NSD