Vol. 5 Num 1007 Sat. March 31, 2007  
Front Page

Militants buried, veil of mystery remains

With the funerals of executed Istamist militant linchpins, many secrets and mysteries about the rise of the particular kind of militancy, its masterminds and patrons were also buried yesterday.

Although the investigators since the August 17, 2005 orchestrated bomb blasts across the country had been saying that the mysteries behind the rise of Islamist militant outfit Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) and about its masterminds and patrons would be detected after the arrests of some sura members, the secrets were never disclosed even after JMB chief Abdur Rahman and his second-in-command Siddiqul Islam alias Bangla Bhai had been arrested.

Although the names of some immediate past ruling party political leaders, ministers and lawmakers have surfaced since the JMB leaders started operating in the northern districts in 2004, the investigators have made no visible move to detect and expose them. The alleged patrons still remain untouched and no charge has yet been brought against them. Even they were not officially pointed out.

In June 2004, Bangla Bhai told a journalist over the phone that four influential leaders of the immediate past ruling party, BNP, were patronising his operations. He also named four of the influential leaders, who are former telecommunications minister Aminul Haque, former state minister for housing Alamgir Kabir, former deputy minister for land Ruhul Quddus Talukder Dulu, and former lawmaker Nadim Mostafa. The report was published in different newspapers at the time.

Legal expert and human rights activist Dr Shahdeen Malik told The Daily Star last night, "The executions are the end of a phase, but not the end of religious terrorism and fanaticism."

Their access to financial and other resources, and their ability to utilise those still remain largely unknown and unaccounted for, he added.

He also said, "Revelations of these are essential to root out this type of terrorism and I expect the government and the law enforcing agencies to find out these sources and the political support system for these terrorists so that we may really and actually be free of terrorism."

Advocate ZI Khan Panna, chairman of the Human Rights and Legal Aid Committee of Bangladesh Bar Council said it is the right of the people to know who are the patrons of these fundamentalist criminals.

He also said they believe that this government will take proper actions against the patrons of the fundamentalists who are responsible for the killings of innocent people in an attempt to destroy the secular and democratic image of our country.

On different occasions the militant kingpins wanted to talk to the media, but the authorities did not allow them to do that. The authorities started strictly keeping the arrested militants away from the media after Harkat-ul Jihad Al Islami (HuJi) leader Mufti Abdul Hannan in a brief chance of talk to the media disclosed how he had gotten blessings from BNP and former home minister Altaf Hossain Chowdhury. Hannan's discloser caused a huge embarrassment for the then BNP-Jamaat-led alliance government.

Even when they were taken to courts for trials they were not allowed to talk to newsmen. Different sections of the people also demanded that the militants should be allowed to talk to the media to uncover the mysteries and secrets, but the government never allowed it.

Any hope of getting the secrets out of the six militants, five of whom were members of JMB's Majlish-e-Sura, was destroyed yesterday with their executions.

JMB Chief Abdur Rahman was arrested on March 2, 2006 from Sylhet, Bangla Bhai was captured wounded from Muktagachha in Mymensingh on March 6, Ataur Rahman Sunny and Abdul Awal had been arrested before them while Khaled Saifullah was captured in Dhaka after Rahman and Bangla Bhai's arrests.

Still two other sura members are in jails awaiting trials in several cases. They are Mohammad Rakib Hasan Russell alias Hafez Mahmud, an Afgan war veteran and also the Khulna divisional commander of JMB, and Salahuddin.

However, the investigators could not extract any vital information from them excepting some common information that had already been found from JMB's low level leaders and activists.

Sources said although the investigators unearthed as startling information as JMB's plan to attack army personnel and to overthrow the government, they did little to identify the political patrons and foreign links of the militants.

While this correspondent was visiting the Bagmara area last Tuesday many victims of JMB torture, their family members and many other local people expressed their satisfaction knowing that the JMB linchpins would be executed. However, many of them at the same time expressed fear and concern, as many followers of Bangla Bhai are still present in the locality with their heads held high.

Amzad Hossain Dugu, who has become crippled after being brutally tortured by Bangla Bhai's goons at one of his torture cells at Bagmara Hamir Kutsa High School, told The Daily Star, "Bangla Bhai's cadres are still issuing threats and scolding us. I and my family are still passing days with a sense of insecurity."

He said fearing further attacks from Bangla Bhai's goons he usually does not allow his son to go out.

Atika Begum receives the bodies of her brothers Abdur Rahman and Ataur Rahman Sunny at Jamalpur, top, Nazir Uddin master receives the body of his son Siddiqul Islam Bangla Bhai in Gabtali upazila of Bogra after the militant leaders were hanged yesterday. PHOTO: STAR