Thursday, May 24, 2007

Charge Sheet against Dulu; Pabna lawyer held; editorial: Militant threats

Charges pressed against Dulu for JMJB link
23 others also accused; Nadim Mostafa's name dropped
Police yesterday submitted charge sheet against 24 people including former deputy minister for land Ruhul Kuddus Talukhdar Dulu in a Natore magistrate court for abetting Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh (JMJB) militants.

Arman Hossain, investigation officer (IO) of the case and also officer-in-charge of Naldanga Police Station, dropped former BNP lawmaker Nadim Mostafa from the charge sheet for lack of witnesses and evidences against him.

The other accused are Ratan, Kalu, Kawsar, Amjad, Afzal, Golap, Hafizul, Yunus, Aser, Ataur, Hazrat, Wahidur, Abdur Razzak, Abdul Kuddus, Hazrat-2, Abdul Khalek, Jalal, Abdul Malek, Sahadat, Biplob, Helal, Belal and Zeher.

JMJB torture victim Muhidul Islam Khan of Nandipara Darbeshpur under Puthia upazila of Rajshahi lodged the case on April 1 accusing 21 persons including Dulu, Nadim Mostafa and JMJB top leader Siddikul Islam Bangla Bhai, executed recently, court and police sources said.

According to the charge sheet, Dulu formed a terrorist group 'Dulu Bahini' to take retaliation of the murders of his nephew Sabbir Hossain Gama, cousin Majedur Rahman Maju and chairman Mukul.

Dulu used JMJB militants to strengthen his group and also set up a torture cell on Peergachha Community Center premises at Naldanga jointly with the JMJB.

The militants led by Bangla Bhai marched to Dulu's residence at Alaipur on April 18, 2004. During the rally, they wore T-Shirts carrying Dulu's portrait and BNP's electoral symbol, a sheaf of paddy.

Dulu's cadres picked Muhidul up from Akkelpur at Naldanga on June 13, 2004 and beat him after hanging his upside down from a tree.

The plaintiff was asked to pay Tk 20,000. However, he was released later after getting Tk 10,000.

Police said apart from eyewitnesses, evidences including some pictures were also found to prove the case.

Pabna lawyer held for 'patronising' militants

Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) yesterday arrested Advocate MR Khan, brother-in-law of militant outfit Allahar Dal chief Matin Mehedi, from his house in the district town allegedly for patronising militants who have regrouped recently under the name 'Jadid-al-Qaeda'.

The elite force personnel raided MR Khan's Gopalpur residence early yesterday following an intelligence report that militants were holding a secret meeting there. But the militants managed to flee before the raid., Rab officials said.

Pabna camp-in-charge of Rab-12 Capt Taifur Mahbub said Khan's eldest son Mahmudur Rahman has direct links to Allahar Dal, and Matin Mehedi used visit his (Khan) house. But he did not inform them anything.

Mahmudur Rahaman was involved in threatening to blow up Hardinge Bridge at Pakshey and Ishwardi railway station recently, Rab suspects.

Earlier, Rab had picked up Mahamudur and three others around one and a half months back but they were freed due to lack of proper evidence of their involvement in militancy.

Capt Taifur referred to leaflets sent to local NGOs and the station master of Ishwardi railway station a few days back in the name of Jadid-al-Qaeda threating to blow up Hardinge Bridge and the station. He said they are now almost certain that absconding Allahar Dal and Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) members have regrouped under a new banner-- Jadid-al-Qaeda

The leaflets said around 100 dedicated and suicide squad members of 'Allahar Dal' have joined Jadid-al-Qaeda, which indicate its members are JMB or Allahar Dal militants.

"We are certain that Allahar Dal members held several meetings at MR Khan's residence. Now detained chief of the outfit Matin Mahadi had also held meetings at the house earlier," Rab ASP Tanvir Arafat told The Daily Star yesterday.

Over 200 Jadid-al Qaeda members are still active in Pabna. These Islamist militants are holding meetings in several areas in the district, Rab sources said.

Meanwhile, MR Khan told journalists at Pabna camp of Rab that his son was involved in Allahar Dal earlier. He denied that militants held any secret meeting at his house.

Militant threats
Determined efforts needed to neutralise them

The report that members of the Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh, a banned militant outfit, are now regrouping themselves in the remote char areas in the northern region is a harsh reminder of the truth that militancy in the garb of religion continues to be a source of major concern. The JMB men are also reported to have formed suicide squads to apparently carry on the "unfinished job" of their leaders who were executed in April last.

There can be no other reason for such regrouping except hitting back with a vengeance. And it is precisely this possibility that the law enforcers have to bear in mind and address by launching a vigorous drive against the JMB operatives. They have already gathered information about the regrouping and training programmes of the militants. It is evident from what has transpired so far that the JMB has a wide network spread over the districts. It is also clear that they introduce themselves as madrassah students to the local people. They are certainly exploiting the religious sentiments of people in their mission for lethal subversive activities.

Such threats of militancy have to be combated simultaneously on a few fronts. First, the law enforcers have to launch a direct assault on the JMB strongholds in the areas, many of which are not easily accessible. So the law enforcers have to enhance their ability to move swiftly into the places where the JMB men are active now. Secondly, it is imperative to ensure community involvement to neutralise the threats. People must be sensitised at the grassroots level regarding their nefarious activities in order to put up social resistance against them. Thirdly, the media, which has been playing a laudable role in highlighting issues of militancy should start a robust campaign against the scourge.

Finally, it might be a great blunder to think that the law enforcers are dealing with remnants or "left-overs" of what once looked like a threat of great magnitude. Isn't it only expected that the highly fanatical elements when pushed to the wall will make frantic efforts to stage a comeback? The law enforcers and society at large must remain awake to such dangers.

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