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Jamaat-e-Islami Inside the Militant Groups-6 (26 August)

Jamaat-e-Islami Inside the Militant Groups-6 (26 August)
Agency advice for ban on them ignored since 2003
Zayadul Ahsan

The government remains indifferent to the alarming rise of Islamist militancy though two years have passed since an intelligence agency strongly recommended banning some organisations, after having found their involvement in anti-state activities.

The report prepared by the Special Branch (SB) of police and submitted in October 2003 also expressed serious apprehension that the way the religious extremists were making progress they at one stage might even challenge the country’s sovereignty.

It said Harkatul Jihad, Islami Biplobi Parishad, Hijbut Tahrir, Jama’atul Mujahideen, Hijbut Tawhid, Sahadat al Hiqma are involved in militancy. Besides, some other organisations in different names are active to bring about a religious state.

Detained Rajshahi University Professor Asadullah Al Galib, chairman of Ahle Hadith Andolon Bangladesh (Ahab), was identified in the SB report as the top boss of Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB). It also mentioned that the organisation [JMB] is very much active in its efforts to usurp the state power.

As Galib’s name came in the confessions of a good number of militants arrested in connection with bomb attacks on village fairs and NGOs across the country, police arrested Galib on February 23 and for the first time, his name as Ahab chairman came in public.

After the arrest, reports detailing activities of militant groups came flooding in the home ministry and police headquarters from northern districts including Dinajpur, Thakurgaon, Gaibandha, Rangpur, Joypurhat and Bogra.

The district intelligence attached with reports booklets, leaflets and pamphlets of some of the organisations, exposing their backgrounds, views, objectives, mechanism, activities, source of funds, arms, training, prospective programmes and goals.

“They have already become powerful and are continuing their secret activities,” says a report recommending tough action against those organisations.

The 2003 SB report said the JMB, despite not having any office in public, is very much alive and kicking.

According to the report, members of Ahle Hadith and ruling coalition partner Islami Oikya Jote are predominantly teachers and students of kawmi madrasas and involved with JMB. The organisation plans to attack different NGOs, movie theatres, folk festivals, drama and cultural programmes.

The report also said the publicity and criminal activities of JMB have tarnished Bangladesh’s image abroad and characterised the country as a fundamentalist state. Legal steps should be taken to ban JMB for the sake of peace, security, and Islam.

It also called for banning Islami Biplobi Parishad (IBP), fearing that IBP might create serious hindrance to maintaining law and order. It also concluded that if the group is allowed to thrive it might constitute threat to the country’s sovereignty.

About Harkatul Jihad, the report said, leaders and activists of Harkat-ul-Jehad-al-Islam (Huji) went into hiding after the then Awami League government began cracking down on them in 2000. The government had opted to go after Huji after finding that the group planted 76 kgs of explosives beside a podium erected for the rally of Sheikh Hasina in Tungipara on July 20, 2000.

Since then, Huji has been continuing its activities under the banners of different militant organisations. The report also included that Huji is presently working secretly and may show up any moment, and therefore, should be banned on security grounds.

About Hijbut Tahir, the 2003 report said the activities of the organisation suggest it may soon graduate to an extremist organisation. The SB proposed round the clock monitoring of the organisation.

Although the reports were submitted in 2003, the government had remained inactive and hesitant until a series of attacks were carried out on a couple of NGOs, and some country fairs in northern districts in February 2004.

In response to the bomb blitz, the government banned JMB, Hiqma and JMJB but has yet to take notice of the other organisations.

Following the series of attacks in February last year, police arrested 160 militants but except Galib, most of them were released or got out on bails. Police raids localities only if any blast incident takes place, otherwise they remain inactive.

The government never takes any action against the banned organisations. They arrested Galib but did not ban his organisation, Ahab.

Instead of rooting out the militant organisations, they have remained laid back since February last year. Taking advantage of the government’s slackness and complacency, Ahab and the likes of the group by this time have got themselves organised.

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