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No compiled data on Aug 17 serial blasts

  • Published at 07:28 pm August 16th, 2013
No compiled data on Aug 17 serial blasts

As many as 200 cases out of 273 in connection with countrywide series bomb blasts on August 17, 2005 have so far been disposed of.

In the cases, different courts sentenced at least 58 people to death while 150 were given life term and 300 others to various terms in prisons.

But no government agency has been able to provide a compiled data on the accused, arrested and convicted people in connection with the synchronised blasts that rocked the country on this day eight years back.

The main target of the attacks was to destroy existing judicial, administrative and legal systems, democratic process and institutions as the JMB was out to establish Islamic Shariah law in Bangladesh.

Reports say the grassroots-level perpetrators are still active to reorganise the battered outfit in one way or other. The JMB was floated in 1998 but it came into spotlight in 2003. It was banned in February 2005.

The BNP-Jamaat-led four-party alliance government was in power when the members of banned outfit Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) carried out the attacks in 511 places of 63 out of the total 64 distrits, leaving two people killed and 200 others injured. Munsiganj was the only district spared.

In this connection, 154 cases were filed the same day and the rest 119 were lodged later after investigation. Of the cases, 18 were filed in the capital for blasts at 33 spots.

The message of the bombing was conveyed through a two-page leaflet that was found at every spot of the occurance.

Excepting the two top leaders – Shayakh Abdur Rahman and Siddiqul Islam, commonly known as Bangla Bhai – the authorities are yest to punish the field-level executors of the serial blasts that portrayed the secular country as a “new breeding ground of Islamic militancy” globally, harming its economic potentiality.

Trying the radicals was one of the election promises of the ruling Awami League that came to power in January 2009.

Law enforcers say the police stations in the respective districts may maintain the records of the alleged extremists who had executed the blasts, but the police headquarters have no complete list of the radicals.

“We are yet to maintain a complete list of the militants carrying out the attacks; but our efforts are on,” a high-ranked police official told the Dhaka Tribune. He said the police stations in every district maintained some record on the suspected militants responsible for the blasts.

Inspector General of Police Hassan Mahmood Khandker told the Dhaka Tribune: “Complete list is not an important matter...We cannot disclose the names of the suspects for investigation. I cannot divulge it to anyone.”

The then BNP-Jamaat government, which had repeatedly trashed media reports on to concede the presence of Islamic extremists, later confessed the existence of Islamic militants promising actions against them.

However, Khaleda Zia’s government finally arrested JMB ring leaders Shayakh Abdur Rahman and Bangla Bhai who were patronised allegedly by at least three ministers of the then BNP government.

The military-led interim government on March 29, 2007 six JMB men including the duo as the court handed down capital punishment, destroying the JMB network.

After the series of attacks, law enforcers arrested about 1,500 suspects. Some 850 members of the JMB were also arrested of who 50 were the party’s policymakers, 130 ehsar (full-time) members, 30 general members and 25 suicide squad members.

Lt Col Ziaul Ahsan, director of the intelligence wing of Rab, said: “Although the casualties were not so much, the style and views of the attacks were much more important. They took the decision of exploding bombs at a time to draw attention to the JMB, and make everyone aware of its capacity as well as conveying its message,” he said.

Asked, he claimed that although their activities were now off and on, “they no more have the capacity like they had in the past as almost all of their leaders have been arrested and many of them were hanged.”