Vol. 5 Num 631 Wed. March 08, 2006  
Front Page

Investigators wait for Bangla Bhai's recovery
Quizzing to start soon as his condition improves; he trained up militants in Muktagachha before capture

Interrogation into the militant network and activities is awaiting recovery of Bangla Bhai, who is now undergoing treatment at Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) hospital amidst tight security. He was learnt yesterday to be recovering and out of danger.

Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) men are guarding the cabin round the clock, often keeping it under lock and key, sources said.

Masud, bodyguard of Siddiqul Islam alias Bangla Bhai, yesterday told interrogators that he arranged the Muktagachha house for Bangla Bhai who went there on Friday night after the arrest of Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) chief Abdur Rahman in Sylhet.

Meanwhile, hearing the news of Bangla Bhai's arrest, the JMB chief told the law enforcers that an Islamic revolution in Bangladesh is certain even though he and Bangla Bhai were arrested.

Sources said Bangla Bhai used to frequent Muktagachha over the last one year, training his men at different mosques and sugarcane fields in the area. Locals were not allowed to come near the place of training, a local said.

Bangla Bhai also had a training camp at Ghoradhap in Jamalpur, 5km off Muktagachha.

Locals of Muktagachha said they thought Bangla Bhai was a peer (a religious leader) busy working on Hadith.

Law enforcers, meantime, said the youth who fled during Muktagachha operation used to provide Bangla Bhai with food.

Sources in the BDR hospital said Bangla Bhai is now taking food and talking although in a very low voice. "But his condition is stable and danger free," a source said. Doctors expected him to regain full consciousness by Tuesday night.

Bangla Bhai was kept in cabin No. 1 of the intensive care unit after doctors on Monday conducted several operations on his body for burn and splinter injuries in the face, hands and other parts.

Rab-9 Sub-Inspector Nurul Islam yesterday field three separate cases with Muktagachha Police Station, with Bangla Bhai and Masud as the main accused, for recovery of firearms, explosives and attacking on law enforcers.

Bangla Bhai's wife Fahima Khatun, Chan Mia--owner of the hideout, and his father Newaz Ali were the other accused.

Fahima and Newaz were produced before a first class magistrate's court in Mymensingh yesterday afternoon with remand petition. First class Magistrate Atikur Rahman sent Fahima on a 10-day remand and Newaz on a five-day remand.

After the court order, the Rab last night brought them to the capital for interrogation.

Meantime, a team of Criminal Investigation Department (CID) visited the burnt hideout of Bangla Bhai yesterday noon. They seized bullets and pieces of iron used in fishing nets from the place.

Masud said as Chan Mia went to his father-in-law's house at Bhaluk Chapor due to his wife's illness, Masud had to look after Bangla Bhai until they were arrested on Monday morning.

With two fingers missing on the left hand and the right hand badly thrashed, Masud is now undergoing treatment at the post-operative ward of Mymensingh Medical College and Hospital (MMCH).

During interrogation at the MMCH, Masud said he became acquainted with Chan Mia at an Islami function more than a year ago and has had close contact with him since then.

He said he was sleeping when the bomb exploded inside the house. "Bangla Bhai may have blasted it," he said.

Investigators, however, said Masud's injury suggests that he himself blasted it.

Our Mymensingh correspondent reports: Locals said Bangla Bhai used to visit Chan Mia's house in Rampur village of Muktagachha upazila, over 30km off the district town, for about a year. He had been staying in the house for a couple of days or more.

Neighbours said they often saw the "bearded man" with other people sitting in front of a small mosque adjacent to the house, often riding horses in the adjoining field.

During last Ramadan, Chan Mia introduced Bangla Bhai as a "hujur", religious teacher, and said he would teach children Arabic.

Chan, however, did not introduce Masud, who also had been staying with him for over a year. "No one dared to enquire about his identity," said a local.

Unknown guests would frequently visit Chan's house, said another local.

Many locals claimed that they often saw Bangla Bhai at a tea stall at Battala Bazar, even once last week, but could not identify him then.

Bangla Bhai's close aide and JMB Ehsar Amanullah Rimon, who was arrested in Mendiganj in Sylhet on Sunday night and tipped Rab men about Bangla Bhai's hideout in Mymensingh, was placed on a five-day remand yesterday, reports our Sylhet correspondent.

Amanullah admitted to law enforcers that Bangla Bhai introduced him to JMB activist Abdul Aziz alias Hanif, who was arrested along with JMB chief Abdur Rahman last Thursday in Sylhet.

Joidullah Faisal, another JMB activist staying in Srirampur arranged lodging for Amanullah at the house of businessman Abdul Haque Kinu Miah in Srirampur.

Detectives yesterday arrested Abul Kalam, brother-in-law of former Jamaat-e-Islami ameer of Habiganj district Saidur Rahman, at his Malnichhera Tea Estate residence in Sylhet.

Saidur was learnt to have provided the JMB with funds for a long time. Four bank cheques were recovered from East Shaplabagh house in Sylhet where JMB chief Abdur Rahman, Hridoy and their family members were arrested on Thursday.

Sylhet police on Monday also picked up mason Abdul Haque, who helped JMB activist Hridoy Chwdhury alias Moizul in renting the house.

Bangla Bhai at the Mymensingh Medical College Hospital after undergoing a minor surgery there. Photo: TVGRAB