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     Volume 4 Issue 66 | October 7, 2005 |

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Caught Mufti Hannan
Mufti Hannan, operation commander of the international Muslim militant organisation Harkatul Jihad (Bangladesh chapter) and one of the country's top Muslim militant leaders, was arrested by Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) in the city on October 1, the fourth anniversary of the coalition government's rule.
The success of the drive, which would otherwise have led to the gloating of the ruling party, was, however, somewhat marred after the militant leader told journalists that he had remained in the country at the assurance of former home minister and current commerce minister Altaf Hossain Choudhury that there was "no fear". Hannan, accused in a sedition case and the prime accused in an assassination attempt on the then Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in July 2000, had also submitted a mercy petition to Choudhury in the latter case. But after reassuring Hannan, Choudhury himself was made commerce minister and Hannan remained in hiding in the city.
The day after Hannan's capture and declaration during it, however, the commerce ministry sent a message to newspaper offices denying Choudhury's links to Hannan, saying that the former home minister did not know or know of Mufti Hannan. Meanwhile, editor of monthly Madina and Islami Oikya Jote leader Moulana Muhiuddin -- alleged by Hannan as being the intermediary between himself and Choudhury -- feels his image has been tarnished by the publishing of "motivated and false news" in this regard. He denied being the link between Choudhury and Hannan at a press conference later on and, though admitting to knowing the wanted criminal and testifying that he is a courageous man, said he must have been lying about the relationship between himself, Choudhury and Muhiuddin.
Hannan is sentenced to life imprisonment in an arms case. He had tried to flee while being identified by RAB -- confusion being caused by his trimmed beard, changed hairstyle and tanned skin, say RAB officials. But he was later caught and identified by his wife, two sons and two daughters who were arrested along with him.
Mufti Hannan was reportedly trained in Peshawar, Pakistan, studied in a madrasa in India and later went to Afghanistan to fight the Soviet army. "Afghan leaders had given me a rifle to fight the former Soviet Union troops and I returned to the country with it," said Hannan, according to a Daily Star report.

New Wave of Bombings
A series of bomb explosions ripped Chittagong port, Chandpur and Lakshmipur on October 3, 2005 killing two people and injuring several others. The blasts occurred within a space of 30 minutes at midday. One person was killed and five injured when a bomb went off in the courtyard at Chandpur. In a separate incident at Lakshmipur, a bomb killed one person injuring five others. Local police say the target of the attack was judge Abu Sufian, as the bomb was hurled at him inside a legal box in the court. The bomb exploded in front of him but he luckily escaped unhurt. Numerous arrests have been made all over the country as the blasts are linked to radical Islamic groups in the country, namely Jamaatul Mujahideen.

The terrorising media in Bangladesh?
According to Jamaat-e-Islami Ameer and Industries Minister Matiur Rahman Nizami, the media is the culprit for half of the terrorising that's been done in the country. "Its role is not less than that of terrorists," he declared. The minister was addressing a seminar on 'Fundamentalism, militancy and Islam' organised by Bangladesh Quran Shikkha Society at the Jatiya Press Club last week, when he spoke on the role played by media in the country.
Nizami said an international clique is engaged to implicate Jamaat-e-Islami in terrorist activities and the persons being used as their tools are tarnishing the image of Islam under the garb of alems (religious scholars).
Even after the confessional statements of those who were involved in the countrywide bomb attacks and the organisation that had distributed leaflets admitted and declared their involvement, the leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami is turning a blind eye to their alleged connection to Jamaat. The Jamaat chief said a particular newspaper ran a report that 40 percent of the arrestees from across the country on charge of bomb attacks are Jamaat members, which is untrue. But reality presents a different scenario. Several reports on the Daily Star showed that militants who were arrested with various documents, including letters of Jamaat leaders, Jamaat Shibir receipts of fund collection, and other organisational papers of Jamaat.
Jamaat at different times lobbied for many of these suspected militants and got them released from police custody. Last time a few militants got caught, they too had connections with Jamaat. Police on September 16 arrested two top Jagrata Muslim Janata militants with huge amount of bomb-making materials and four firearms at a house belonging to a Jamaat activist in Tanore, Rajshahi. Even Mufti Hannan, a militant kingpin arrested on October 1, is claiming to have links with the four party alliance. In fact he told the court that the law enforcers were not suppose to arrest him as the present government promised him that he would be exempted from the charges brought against him during the Awami League government.

Bombs and leaflets hand in hand
And as the story goes in Bangladesh, once again 'unidentified' criminal carried out bomb attacks last week in Satkhira and Brahmanbaria.
With two people dead and three critically wounded, a gang of criminals threw five bombs, one after the other on a fish depot at Daliya market in Tala upazila in Satkhira district, at about 7:30 pm, when groups of people were gossiping at the Nur Mohammad fish depot.
In continuation of the nationwide bombings, bombs exploded in front of the Mother Care Clinic in Brahmanbaria on the same day at 8:20pm.
According to the leaflets recovered, the bombers warned of further bomb attacks if hotels and restaurants were not kept shut during Ramadan. Well, maybe this time the bombers could have just worked out their demands with mere leaflets and leave out the part where people would have to die and get hurt. So much for peace symbolising religion.

Copyright (R) thedailystar.net 2005