Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) and other banned organisations have carried on their activities in remote areas on the banks of the Teesta and Brahmaputra rivers in Kurigram district.
This information has come to light in lieu of a recent letter from the Public Safety Department under the Ministry of Home Affairs addressed to the Islamic Foundation. The deputy director of the foundation’s Kurigram district has confirmed this to the Dhaka Tribune.
According to a source, the Public Safety department has also sent specific instructions to limit the activities of JMB and other banned organisations.
Near the end of April this year, Islamic Foundation Director Dr Muhammad Abdus Salam sent a letter to the Islamic Foundation's Kurigram district office, asking them to take necessary measures to stop JMB and other banned organisations.
Citing a different letter in the Ministry of Home Affairs letter, it stated: “Information has been received about Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) and other banned organisations' planning activities, recruiting, training and holding secret meetings in remote areas on the banks of the Teesta and Brahmaputra rivers in the Kurigram district.”
“To prevent these activities, it is requested that public awareness be raised about terrorism in all mosques, madrasas and other religious gatherings in the aforementioned areas,” he added.
Deputy Director of the Islamic Foundation's Kurigram district Md Mostafizur Rahman said: “We have taken immediate action in those areas after receiving the letter.”
“After searching for information around the banks of the Teesta and Brahmaputra, we found that, even though in 2004 some terrorist activities had been carried out in secret, currently there are no ongoing activities of JMB or other banned organisations. We have also sent a report on this issue to the higher authorities,” he added.
He also mentioned that all mosques in the affected areas have been asked to read sermons provided by the Islamic Foundation regarding this issue.
Letters have also been sent to the chairmen, council members, imams, teachers and other important figures asking them to raise awareness in their areas and to report all kinds of terrorist activities.
Kurigram is home to JMB’s new spiritual leader and “boro huzur” Moulana Abul Kashem and a few other JMB members on the run from the police after the murder of Muktijoddha Hossain Ali from Kurigram.
Ahsan Ullah Ansari aka Biplob Ansari, the murderer of Japanese national Hoshi Kunio, is a resident of Rajmollirhat village in the Umormojid Union of Rajarhat district.
Saddam, a JMB member who was killed in a gunfight, is also a resident of Ananda Bazaar village of Biddyananda Union in Kurigram's Rajarhat district, leading people to question the presence of JMB in the area.
But in the field survey carried out by police authorities and the Islamic Foundation, no evidence of JMB or other banned organisation activity was found.
Kurigram police Superintendent Md Mehedul Karim told the Bangla Tribune: “There was some JMB activity in the area a few years ago. However, currently there are no reported activities of JMB, or any other banned organisation.”
“The police are always vigilant in this matter. We have set up a Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU) in the district, and their work is already underway,” he said.
When the Ministry of Home Affairs' report was mentioned, he replied: “We are investigating this very important matter. Terrorist activities will not be tolerated in any area of the district.”