â€˜IM growing stronger in northeast, Bangladeshâ€™ NEW DELHI: Even as National Investigation Agency (NIA) has linked the Bodh Gaya blasts to Assam, intelligence agencies have found that Indian Mujahideen (IM) may have grown strong footprints in the north-east and Bangladesh. In fact, agencies have credible information that IM played a significant role in providing relief to displaced Muslims in the June 2012 Bodo-Muslim riots in Assam. Sources said during the 2012 strife, IM operatives used the network of certain mosques to mobilize funds from across the Hindi heartland and certain other areas to Assam to help victims from the minority community. "There are reports of them having developed contacts with some religious groups in Assam and their activity has been significant in areas such as Dhubri. They have also developed footprints in Sylhet region of Bangladesh and are suspected to have developed pockets of influence in Myanmar-Bangladesh border region through LeT," said an intelligence official. "The objective of participating in relief operations in Assam seemed to be aimed at creation of an IM constitution and radicalization of Muslim youth at the wrong end of justice in the state," he added. Notably, NIA investigations have found that the Lotus brand clocks used in the Bodh Gaya blasts were bought from a shop in Assam. Investigations also point out that these clocks were bought about a year before the blasts. That was precisely the time that riots broke out in Assam and relief operations were underway. Arrested IM operatives Syed Maqbool and Imran Khan had revealed to investigating agencies in October last year that Bodh Gaya was one of the targets of IM to avenge atrocities on Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. Though these developments point to an IM hand behind the July 7 blasts in Bodh Gaya, agencies say it could be a confluence of different forces including disaffected Rohingya Muslim groups which have been on the radar of groups such as LeT for recruitment. Significantly, the Rakhine Buddhist-Rohingya Muslim confrontation of last year, which has been the trigger for a larger Buddhist-Muslim confrontation in several parts of Asia, had coincided with the Bodo-Muslim confrontation in lower Assam. Intelligence agencies had then expressed fear that Rohingya refugees could add another insurgency to an already volatile mix of Assam. It was also said that the outflow of Rohingya refugees could lead to stronger contacts between Myanmar Muslims and regional Islamist militants. Such militants could recruit disaffected Rohingyas to their own cause. "It is difficult to pinpoint any group at the moment as several forces have motive to harm Buddhists or their symbols. Though we have found that 13 clocks were bought from a shop in Assam, we cannot yet be sure if they were the same clocks used in the 13 bombs placed in the Bodh Gaya temple complex. We have also found evidence of some 50 Lotus clocks bought from another place. Why would a bomber buy exactly 13 clocks for 13 bombs? Why not more for contingency," asked an NIA officer.