Vol. 5 Num 437 Thu. August 18, 2005  
Front Page

Blasts prove govt denials wrong

Yesterday's countrywide organised bomb attacks once again proved futile the government's persistent denial of the existence of Islamist militant in the country and claim that it would not allow unlawful and anti-social activities in the name of religion.

Although leaflets of banned Islamist militant organisation Jama'atul Mujaheedin, Bangladesh (JMB) were found at all the explosion sites yesterday, State Minister for Home Lutfozzaman Babar refrained from putting blame on the militant organisation for the act that sent a chill of horror through the bones of the countrymen.

Talking to reporters, Babar just said the JMB might be involved or 'there might be some other matters. Many things might have happened.'

But experts said the bombings were carried out to send a message of establishing Islamic rule through the leaflets, not to create carnage. The nature of the bombs, their capacity and area of incidences show the attack was meant to make a showdown of their capacity to do harm, not harming.

"There is no reason now to think that it is not the act of Islamist fundamentalists once they've distributed their leaflets with the bombs," said a security expert.

Although the opposition political parties blamed the government for laxity to deal the fundamentalist organisations with strong hands, the government is yet to recognise it officially as an act of the Islamist militants.

As newspapers carried a series of reports on Islamist militancy over the last two years, the government kept on denying the existence of the militants, terming Bangla Bhai's Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh (JMJB) and other militant organisations as a creation of media.

The government banned the JMJB and JMB on February 23 accusing them of series of bomb attacks and killings to create anarchy, eating its own words of denial of their existence.

Earlier, government high-ups, ruling coalition leaders and high police officials had repeatedly denied the existence of Bangla Bhai and JMJB, brushing aside the newspaper stories and interviews of the militant leader.

"We don't know officially about the existence of the JMJB. Only some so-called newspapers are publishing reports on it. We don't have their constitution in our record," State Minister for Home Lutfozzaman Babar said on January 26.

But the press notes on the ban blamed the two organisations of 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.

Newspapers investigations found links of both Bangla Bhai and his religious mentor, Abdur Rahman, both of whom are also involved with the JMB, with al-Qaeda and other Taliban leaders and the two told newspapers that they wanted to establish Taliban-like rule in Bangladesh.

The PM, however, on March 15 denied any existence of Taliban and al-Qaeda. In her speech in the Jatiya Sangsad on the day, the BNP chairperson termed reports about their activities nothing by the opposition's propaganda aimed at causing a rift within the four-party alliance.

The PM said Islamic organisations have long been working to spread the message of Islam and its ideology. "They've also made an important contributions to maintaining social integrity and harmony. There's no allegation against them."

Almost identical comments came from Industries Minister Nizami in parliament and at a public meeting in Dhaka the same day. Not only Jamaat-e-Islami, none of the known Islamic organisations has a link to militancy, he claimed.