JMB ruled supreme with their blessings |
Julfikar Ali Manik
Barrister Aminul Haque, ex-BNP minister sentenced to a 31-year term yesterday, not only blatantly patronised Islamist militants using the police and administration during the BNP-Jamaat-led coalition government but also barred local authorities in Rajshahi to take action against the militants in 2004-05.
Since the open rise of Bangla Bhai-led militant organisation Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) in northern Rajshahi in 2004, The Daily Star in its continuous investigation in the past few years has revealed Aminul's role from the forefront as one of the key patrons of the militants.
Aminul, also former lawmaker of Rjshahi-1 constituency, and Ruhul Kuddus Talukder Dulu, former lawmaker of Natore-2 and former deputy minister for land, jointly patronised the JMB in the region.
Dulu was sentenced to eight years imprisonment yesterday in an arson case.
Dulu and Aminul also talked Rajshahi Mayor Mizanur Rahman Minu, fellow MPs Nadim Mostafa of Rajshahi-4 and Alamgir Kabir of Naogaon-6 into their JMB game.
The militant patrons made it mandatory for all to send public and private jeeps, cars, microbuses and motorcycles to the processions of Siddiqul Islam alias Bangla Bhai. Police cars would stay within 500-1000 yards of the operation area to back up Bangla Bhai and officers-in-charge of different police stations were also compelled to be there.
They personally controlled police officials including superintendents of police in Rajshahi, Naogaon and Natore for their political and personal interest and prevented those who took initiatives to stop militant activities in the region.
Even the then state minister for home Lutfozzaman Babar left the responsibility of the region's law and order with Aminul's personal whim.
Inspector General of Police (IGP) Nur Mohammad, who was deputy inspector general (DIG) in Rajshahi range in 2004, is one of the witnesses of Aminul's defiance of the existing legal and administrative systems to establish his control over the region.
The IGP told The Daily Star last month, "I talked to the home minister twice or thrice on this matter, but he kept on pushing me towards Aminul Haque. When I talked to district minister Aminul Haque, he said, 'Do not talk on this matter. You do not need to pursue this matter. This has come from the highest level. From the prime minister to Tarique Rahman, everyone knows about it.'
"I have told Aminul several times that you are the local minister and I am the DIG. I cannot allow this to go on. He asserted again saying this matter has the approval of the prime minister and Tarique Rahman," the IGP said.
Bangla Bhai swung into action in certain upazilas of Rajshahi, Naogaon and Natore after outlaws, popularly known as Sarbahara, killed four persons--relatives, close political aides and cadres of the patrons--in five months from November 2003.
In November 2003, operatives of the outlawed Purba Banglar Communist Party killed BNP's Bagmara upazila president Abdul Hamid Moru in Rajshahi city. Gunmen killed Dulu's nephew Sabbir Ahmed Gamma in Natore's Naldanga upazila in February 2004.
Under cover of outlaw cleansing, the BNP bigwigs in the North actually intended to stamp their political supremacy over Rajshahi, Natore and Naogaon regions. They effectively used the militants to destroy their political opponents, ensuring BNP's dominance in the long run.
Following the execution of six JMB militants including Abdur Rahman and Bangla Bhai, a few victims of Bangla Bhai had filed several cases since March this year, accusing Aminul, Dulu, Nadim and many other JMB goons.
The case against Aminul was the first to have been disposed of as its verdict was given yesterday while other cases are awaiting disposal.
Among the JMB patrons four are now in different jails in different cases. They are Tarique Rahman, Babar, Dulu and Minu.