Friday, August 8, 2008

Kolkata Police wary as Osama bin Laden tapes ‘turn up’ in city

Rajib Chatterjee & Sabyasachi Roy


An Intelligence tip-off that teenage boys from Park Circus have received some cassettes containing inflammatory speeches of Osama Bin Laden for "local circulation" has got Kolkata Police in a tizzy.

Baffled by such report, sleuths belonging to city police's Special Branch (SB) and detective department have started maintaining a close watch among the youths, aged between 15 to 18, hailing from Darapara area near Park Circus. However, no cassette were seized till today. A senior city police officer said they came to know that some audio cassettes on radical Islamic movement have reached the city recently through the India-Bangladesh borders and Attari check post in Punjub. The entire consignment of the cassettes came through trucks, said the officer, posted in Special Branch. The cassettes, which according to officials, contain inflammatory speeches of Osama Bin Laden, are being played secretly at some places near Park Circus and some other minority community dominated localities in the Central part of the city, the officer said.

He also said that surveillance has been stepped up in Kolutola and its adjoining areas after reports that some religious leaders had come to the city recently to hold meetings with their counterparts in the city. Senior city police officers admitted that surveillance has been stepped up in several pockets following the serial blasts in Bengaluru and Ahmedabad. It was learnt that sleuths belonging to the anti terrorist cell of the city police's Special Branch and detective department have been asked to identify the places where the cassettes are being played. Further, they have been instructed to trace the recipients of the cassettes. It is suspected that some recipients of the cassettes include a section of youngsters who had participated in the demonstration that took place in Park Circus area on 21 September last year over controversial writer Taslima Nasreen's stay in West Bengal.

Alarmed over reports of arrival of cassettes on Jehadi movement in the city, surveillance in all entry points to the city has been intensified. Top district police officers have also been informed about the Intelligence tip off, said an officer of Special Branch.

When contacted, Mr Jawed Shamim, deputy commissioner of the city police's detective department, said he had no reports of cassettes containing speeches of Osama Bin Laden being played in Park Circus. "The special branch officers may have such reports, by I don't know anything about this," Mr Shamim added.

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