Patrons still defend Jama'atul |
Julfikar Ali Manik
BNP leaders of the North Bengal, who allegedly brought infamous Bangla Bhai in the limelight last year for their personal protection, refuse to admit that Bangla Bhai and Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) have gained a lot of strength as the government deliberately overlooked their existence.
Instead, these BNP leaders are as usually blaming the Awami League (AL) for yesterday's countrywide bomb blasts.
Even though the police recovered identical JMB leaflets from the different sites of bomb blasts in the country, these BNP leaders describe the incident as a "conspiracy" hatched in the name of JMB. They refuse to link the JMB with the terrorist activities on the basis of their own theories.
Despite overwhelming evidence of the JMB's subversive activities, the reactions of the ruling party MPs are no different from those made during different bomb blasts in the past. The confessions of a good number of arrested JMB cadres led every attack to Bangla Bhai, JMB chief Abdur Rahman and jailed Rajshahi University teacher Asadullah Al Galib. However, every time the government mysteriously shrugged off the links, released the arrested militants and brushed aside the evidences.
Advocate Nadim Mostafa, an MP from Natore, told The Daily Star yesterday evening, "I believe this was done to sabotage the upcoming Saarc summit. Those who did it, did it to prove Bangladesh as a den of militants to the foreign countries. But I don't believe there is any extreme militant force in the country."
"If the Bangla Bhais were so strong, those who are involved in politics could not have carried on with politics anymore," Mostafa said.
Denying his role in bringing Bangla Bhai in the forefront, Mostafa reiterated, "I don't know Bangla Bhai. I have learnt about him from the newspapers. In Bagmara or Atrai areas, the people were compelled to bring him in the scene due to unbearable oppression of the Sarbaharas."
Then why did the government ban the Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh (JMJB), another name for the JMB which is also banned? Mostafa replies, "Banning does not mean that it has so powerful a network to orchestrate a countrywide bomb attack."
Deputy Minister for Land Ruhul Quddus Talukder, another ruling party MP from Natore, told The Daily Star, "I don't think they [JMB] have such a strong network. Awami League must have done this using fake leaflets to destroy Bangladesh's image internationally."
Talukder also denied having any connection with Bangla Bhai and said, "The Bangla Bhai group or JMB may have some hold in Bagmara, Atrai or Natore areas, but they are not so strong. Those who are doing this aim to go to power through creating an anarchy.
State Minister for Housing Alamgir Kabir, another BNP MP from Naogaon, refused to make any comment on the JMB or Bangla Bhai, saying, "I do not know anything about them."
The ruling party MPs are accused of bringing the Bangla Bhai group in the public to fight the Sarbaharas who had started killing relatives of these MPs and announced to kill the MPs as well. The government has so far made no attempt to arrest Bangla Bhai and his gang who killed around 20 people and tortured many more.
When the government arrested Galib in February 2005 and banned the JMB and JMJB, a government press note read, "The government notices with concern that two organisations called Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh and Jama'atul Mujahideen have been carrying out a series of murders, robberies, bomb attacks, threats and various kinds of terrorist acts causing deaths to peace-loving people and destruction of property."
In February 13, 2003, a JMB militant named Badal was killed in an explosion while making bombs in a house in Dinajpur town. Two arms and explosives cases were filed and seven were arrested. But all of them were released later.
In August 2003, the JMB, Bangla Bhai and JMB's top leader Shaikh Abdur Rahman were locked in a clash at a secret training camp with the police at Khetlal of Joypurhat. Most of the militants managed to escape leaving behind huge documents showing their subversive plans. Eighteen militants were arrested, including Rahman's brother. But a few days later, they were not only released, but the government transferred several police officials involved in the Khetlal operation.
"We don't believe in the present political trend. We want to build a society based on the Islamic model laid out in the Holy Qur'an and the Hadith," Bangla Bhai told The Daily Star in an interview in May last year. The leaflets found yesterday at the blast sites echoed the same message.
Bangla Bhai also said he wanted to establish a Taliban-like rule. His party has been active underground since 1998 and had three tiers of workers until last year. The party spent Tk 7 lakh per month for 10,000 full-time JMB workers across the country, while the total number of its activists is no less than a lakh, he claimed.
At different times, all the confessions made by the arrested militants spelt out the names of Bangla Bhai, Abdur Rahman, Asadullah Al Galib and some other leaders. Earlier this year, they also stated that an explosion in Jamalpur was orchestrated by Abdur Rahman himself.
Abdur Rahman's father late Moulana Abdullah Ibne Fazal was a member of Jamiatul Ahle Hadith which is now led by Galib. Moulana Fazal is accused of collaborating with the Pakistani forces in 1971.
Shafiqullah, nabbed on January 17 for bombing a folk-drama programme in Lakkhikhola village, said the JMB has its separate bombing squads spread across the country.
It has its separate working forces in the bomb squads and the tasks of every group are well defined, he said during his remand.