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Dhaka Tribune

Ten Islamist outfits to face ban

Update : 20 Aug 2013, 08:46 PM

In the wake of rising militant activities, the government is set to ban at least 10 Islamist organisations soon. The move comes at a time when five outlawed and seven blacklisted organisations have been operating defying the government ban and vigilance of the law enforcement agencies.

Around 50 others, including some having their roots outside the country, have already been brought under vigilance for their suspected militant activities in different forms.

The present government on October 22, 2009 banned Hizb-ut-Tahrir. The same year, seven other organisations Hizb-ut-Tawhid, Islami Samaj, Ulema Anjuman al Baiyinaat, Islamic Democratic Party, Tawhid Trust, Tamir ud-Deen and Alla’r Dal were blacklisted for their suspected involvement in militant activities.

According to the officials of the home ministry, police and Rab, the government is now set to ban all the seven blacklisted organisations and three others Shahadat-e-Nobuwat, Ansarullah Bangla Team and Al Markajul al Islami. Of the three, the existence of Ansarullah Bangla Team has been uncovered very recently.

Earlier, the previous BNP-Jamaat government outlawed Shahadat-e-al Hikma on February 9, 2003; Jama’at-ul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) and Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh (JMJB) on February 23, 2005; and Harkat-ul Jihad al-Islami (Huji) on October 17, 2005.

But all the banned and listed organisations have been running their activities even after the execution of six top leaders of the JMB on March 29, 2007, and the arrest of several thousand leaders and activists of the banned outfits, mainly Hizb-ut-Tahrir and JMB.

“We have recently found some organisations involved in militancy. They are under watch. Decision against some of them is under process considering safety and security of the state and people,” State Minister for Home Shamsul Huq Tuku told the Dhaka Tribune on Sunday.

Tuku said he would not mention the number and names of those organisations. “But it is true that the government is working on those organisations,” he added.

Recently, several militant groups have been found conducting publicity campaigns through brisk processions, publishing posters and leaflets, and holding secret meetings, say law enforcers.

Activists of most of the militant groups believe in sacrificing their lives to establish the rule of Islam. In this view, they target the poor and common Muslims and cash in their beliefs in religion.

Over the past few years, law enforcers arrested more than a dozen foreign militants belonging to Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Harkat-ul Mujahideen, Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), Jaish-e-Mostofa and Indian Kashmir-based organisation Asif Reza Commando Force (ARCF) in Bangladesh.

The detained militant leaders had reportedly recruited thousands of local youths under the name of different organisations, inspired them with jihadi spirits and trained them to operate arms and make bombs and grenade.

Asked, the junior home minister admitted that the banned and blacklisted organisations were still active. He said: “As the banned outfits have no rights to carry out activities publicly, they are operating from hideouts and using different other names or identities.

“The government as well as the law enforcement agencies are working to decide measures against them to stop militant activities,” Tuku said adding that regular drives against the militants were underway.

Reports suggest that militant activities surfaced in Bangladesh in early 1999 after several thousand youths returned taking part in wars in Afghanistan against the Soviet forces, in Kashmir against India and in Iraq against the USA.

The persistent unstable situations in Myanmar and the seven north-eastern states of India also called the Seven Sisters have significant contribution behind the rise of militancy in Bangladesh, security analysts said.

Around 12,500 Bangladeshis had taken part in the Afghan war alone. Of them, at least 24 died and several hundred others wounded.

On their return to Bangladesh, a section of them formed their own parties and groups while some others launched branches of different foreign militant organisations.

The militant forces, which became active against the county’s cultural, secular and democratic forces, had launched the first bomb attack on the annual meeting of cultural organisation Udichi in Jessore killing at least eight people and injuring over 100 others on March 6, 1999.

Following this, they carried out hundreds of attacks with bombs, grenades and arms killing former Awami League minister Shah AMS Kibria, attacked to kill poet Shamsur Rahman and Bangladeshi-origin British High Commissioner Anwar Chowdhury and attacked Dhaka University teacher Humayun Azad, who later died in Germany.

The other attacks include Ramna Batamul blast and attack on a rally of the Communist Party of Bangladesh in Paltan in 2001; serial bomb blasts in four cinema halls of Mymensingh in 2002; grenade attacks on an AL rally on August 21, 2004 that killed 24 people including the wife of late president Zillur Rahman and injuring 300 others, including then opposition leader Sheikh Hasina; and the simultaneous series bomb attacks at 511 places in 63 districts on August 17, 2005.

Allegations say political parties, influential quarters and intelligence agencies at different times used these militants to materialise their own purposes.

According to law enforcers, apart from the outlawed and blacklisted organisations, more than 60 other groups both local and international origin have also been found active in the country.

Some of the local Islamist militant groups under watch are: Al-Harat al-Islamia, Jamayatul Falaiya, Tawhidi Janata, Jummatul al-Sadat, Al Jihad Bangladesh, World Islamic Front for Jihad, Warat Islamic Front, Al-Khidmat Foundation, Muslim Millat Sariyah Council, Ahle Hadith Andolon Bangladesh, Hizbul Mahdi, Jamiatul Ehhia-ut-Turaj, Hayatul Igasa, Bangladesh Anjumane Talamije Islamia, Khidmat E Islam Foundation, Islami Jihad Group, Tanjeem Bangladesh, Iktadul Tulah Al Muslemin, Amanatul Forkan Al Khayriya, Ibtedatul Al Muslemin, Al-Sayeed Mujahid Bahini and Ahsab Bahini.

Earlier, intelligence agencies submitted to Bangladesh Bank a list of 12 NGOs which were allegedly involved in funding militants. These are Revival of Islamic Heritage Society (RIHS), Rabita al-Alam al-Islami, Society of Social Reforms, Qatar Charitable Society, Al-Muntada Al-Islami, Islamic Relief Agency, Al-Furqan Foundation, International Relief Organisation, Kuwait Joint Relief Committee, Muslim Aid Bangladesh, Dar Al-Khair, Hayatul Igachha and Tawheed-e-Noor.

The local militants have also links with the regional groups operating in Pakistan, Kashmir and Myanmar while some others have association with a number of so-called charity organisations and NGOs based in Saudi Arabia and other Middle East countries.

Other Pakistan-based organisations involved in militant activities are Tehrik-e-Jehad-e-Islami-Kashmiri (TJI), Harkat-ul-Jehadul Islami, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HuM), Hezbi Islami, Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen and Harkat ul-Ansar.

There are around 13 Myanmar-based militant organisations that comprise members from the Myanmar Rohingya communities and Bangladeshis: Rohingya Solidarity Organisation (RSO), Arakan Rohingya National Organisation (ARNO), National United Party of Arakan (NUPA), Arakan Rohingya Force, Islamic Solidarity Front, Arakan People’s Army, Liberation Myanmar Force, Arakan Mujahid Party, Rohingya Independents Force, Rohingya Independence Army, Rohingya Patriotic Front, Rohingya Islamic Front and United students Association of Arakan Movement (USM).  

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