Verdict against militancy
Let no one doubt our resolve to fight it
The number of convicts -- 25 to be exact, including the former minister -- is indicative of the magnitude of the crime committed. The fact, however, that 17 of them, inclusive of the ex-minister, are absconding, means that they have to be ferreted out and made to face justice.
That they have been found guilty of promoting and supporting Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh in their acts of extortion and torture of people in a court of law puts across some strong signals. It lends a robust credence to the widely acknowledged fact that elements within the erstwhile BNP-led coalition government with Jamaat had harboured, sheltered and promoted the extremist elements of JMB spearheaded by so-called Bangla Bhai. The government going in a denial mode despite wide newspaper coverage of the rising extremist spectre only helped strengthen the militant causes. The interrogation of terror suspects had revealed names in the erstwhile government who allegedly nurtured armed extremism. They should be pursued now -- to the fullest.
With the conviction delivered, numerous people who were maimed and crippled by the JMB would feel that justice has been done.
This court verdict along with the execution of the six top extremists should deliver a strong message to those who harbour militant agenda. The ideology these people work on having been based on exploitation of religious sentiments of innocent people may still be rubbing with some; so the need for an all-out campaign against the protagonists of armed extremism.
That the rise of militancy is a potential threat to state security and social equilibrium is universally acknowledged today. We have to build on this basic realisation of our people.
The latest court verdict against patronisation of militancy should convey the message to the outside world as to our national commitment to combating terrorism.
Verdict against JMB patrons celebrated
Many still unpunished, say people in Rajshahi
Happy with the punishment of JMB patrons barrister Aminul Haque and Ruhul Kuddus Talukdar Dulu, many people in Rajshahi now want to see more JMB patrons, especially bigwigs of Jamaat-e-Islami, face justice.
At many places in Bagmara of Rajshahi, people yesterday distributed sweets to celebrate the retribution.
"Former prime minister, home minister, a few senior bureaucrats and Hawa Bhaban were frequently mentioned in the media to be linked with the militants...Besides, Jamaat leaders, the real godfathers of the fanatics, have remained out of reach," said former Rajshahi University vice chancellor Prof Abdul Khaleque.
"We are happy to see the JMB patrons like Aminul, Dulu to be jailed...but Jamaat men are still out and sources of funds to the militants are yet to be unearthed," he said.
The verdict against the JMB patrons has helped to generate some trust and confidence in the present government, another former RU VC Prof Saidur Rahman Khan said.
"Other patrons of the militants, especially Jamaat men and administration officials who aided them, should also be punished," he added.
All the patrons of JMB should face justice, said Workers Party politburo member Fazle Hossain Badsha who had received death threat from militants on several occasions.
Expressing his happiness, Abdul Bari, a torture victim who is still residing in Rajshahi city in fear of the militants' aides, said, "Korban [one of the militants jailed with Aminul] used to boastfully say that they would rule as long as Tarique Zia was behind them. I did not anticipate that they would be punished so quickly."
Family members of the victims of torture in Atrai, Raninagar of Naogaon, Bagmara in Rajshahi and Naldanga in Natore have demanded execution of the JMB patrons.
"Yells of my son to save his life still drive me with horror. I want similar death of the JMB patrons," said 65-year-old Khodeza Begum, mother of Golam Rabbani Mukul.
Tortured in public on April 11, 2004, Mukul succumbed to his injuries on April 16.
They made Mukul's crying during the torture heard in the neighbourhood through a loudspeaker.
"I want godfathers of militants to be tried just before us as they tortured and killed people in open torture cells," said Ismail Hossain, father of Yasin Ali who was beaten to death after the militants hung him upside down from a tree in front of Kodapara Madrasa on June 29, 2004.
"Militants dragged me out of classroom. I could count 30 hits of iron rod until I lost consciousness. My father sold lands to bear my treatment cost. I am yet to know what my faults were," said Abdul Malek, a class nine student of Hamirkutsa High School demanding hanging of JMB patrons.
The JMB militants started the so-called 'outlaw cleansing operation' through open murder of Wasim Osman Babu on April 1, 2004 and they killed over 25 persons and maimed some 500 people in only four months.