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|Islami Andolan musters 3rd highest votes, wins no seats|
|[Dhaka Tribune] In the 11th parliamentary elections, the (IAB) has bagged the third highest number of votes, following Awami League-led Grand Alliance and BNP-led Jatiya Oikya Front. |
Yet, the party could not manage securing a single seat in the December 30 polls. The IAB also rejected the election results, amid claims of harassment and intimidation of its polling agents and voters.
According the Election Commission, 80,259,172 votes were cast, which is 77% of the country’s total number of eligible voters.
Of the total votes, the Awami League received 61,703,251 votes (77%), and won 288 parliamentary seats out of 298, where results have been announced.
Oikya Front, which won only seven seats, got 9,229,712 votes, while the IAB got 1,236,983, according to the Election Commission tally.
Speaking to the Dhaka Tribune earlier, IAB Dhaka city south unit President Imtiaz Ahmed said winning seats is not currently the party’s goal. Instead, the IAB wishes to increase the total number of their followers.
|Musa likely among dead militants|
|[Dhaka Tribune] The Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crimes (CTTC) unit of police suspects that one of the four killed during the joint operation of security forces in Sylhet’s Shibbari could be Mainul Islam Musa, the alleged chief coordinator of New JMB.|
CTTC told s on Tuesday that a photo of one of the dead bore strong resemblance to Musa.
On Monday, Bangladesh Army recovered two of the four bodies from inside Atia Mahal and handed them over to the local police.
A CTTC high official, seeking anonymity, said: "One of the does look like Musa, but faces usually get mangled during such incidents. We are trying to match the face of the with that of Musa using the photo we received during the Ashkona raid. We will collect DNA samples and other evidence and send it to the forensic lab for examination."
Police collected Musa’s picture from the tenant form that he provided to the house owner’s daughter while renting a flat in Ashkona.
Police received Musa’s name from Afif Qadri, son of top New JMB leader Tanvir Qadri, who gave a confessional statement before a court, said CTTC chief Monirul Islam at a last year.
After Ashkona raid on December 24 last year, Monirul confirmed that Major (retd) Zahidul Islam alias Zahid and some other top leaders and mid-level leaders of New JMB have been on the run since the death of their leader and Gulshan attack Tamim Chowdhury in another CTTC raid.
Once a second tier leader in New JMB, Musa then took charge of coordinating the group, Monirul said.
After the arrest of Jahangir alias Rajiv Gandhi, he became the most active leader in the field, said CTTC officials.
Musa, who was described as well-mannered by his neighbours back at his village home in Bagmara, Rajshahi, was radicalised by Faisal, his expatriate friend who lives in Bahrain.
He was an avid follower of executed JMB leader Siddiqul Islam alias Bangla Bhai and was close to Major Zahid, living in the same building with Zahid and his family, his mother Sufia Begum said.
|RAB steps into 13th year|
|[DhakaTribune] (RAB), an elite team of Bangladesh Police, which was formed on March 26, 2004 and started its operations on April 14, 2004 with the motto ’Bangladesh Amar Ohonkar’ (Bangladesh is my pride) has stepped into 13th year today.|
It consists of the members of Bangladesh Police, Bangladesh Army, Bangladesh Navy, Bangladesh Air Force, Border Guard Bangladesh and Bangladesh Ansar and VDP.
Despite having many controversies of crossfire, forced disappearance incidents, extrajudicial killings and arbitrary arrests, the force has achieved many successes in combating terrorism and militancy including the arrests of Mufti Hannan and Bangla Bhai.
Many rights organizations including Human Rights Watch have been repeatedly urging the government to ban the force alleging its involvement in unauthorised activities.
Preventing human trafficking and containing robbers of Sundarban are other two achievements in the force’s history.
Extra judicial act which was executed by RAB first came into spotlight after they shot Limon Hossain, a college student, in Jhalakathi on March 23, 2011.
In January 2017, 25 former RAB officials were found guilty in the sensational Seven Murder Case of Narayanganj. Total of 26 ex-RAB officials were awarded with death penalty and another nine received jail for seven to 17 years.
RAB Legal and Media Wing Director Mufti Mahmud Khan said: "People will evaluate our success. If the people face issues they come to RAB first. They think if they can reach us they will find quick remedy.
"We do not find any base of the controversy on crossfire and encounter. We caught different type of criminals during different drives. None of them faced crossfire. Crossfire and encounter take place when it is a must."
|Jhalakathi judge killer JMB man executed|
|[Dhaka Tribune] JMB member Asadul Islam Arif, who was given death penalty in Jhalakathi judges Jagannath Pare and Sohel Ahmed killing case, has been hanged in Khulna district jail.|
The sentence was executed at 10:30pm on Sunday amid tight security, said Khulna Jail Super Kamrul Islam confirmed the Dhaka Tribune.
Khulna Deputy Commissioner Nazmul Ahsan, DIG Prisons (Jessore) Tipu Sultan, Magistrate Md Nur-e-Alam Siddique, Civil Surgeon Dr Md Abdur Razzak and Jail Superintendent Kamrul Islam were present during the execution.
Arif and six other JMB leaders including its founder Shayakh Abdur Rahman and second-in-command Siddiqul Islam alias Bangla Bhai were sentenced to death on May 29, 2006. The six were executed on March 29, 2007 after the Appellate Division upheld their sentence and the president turned down their mercy petitions.
The four others executed were Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) Majlish-e-Sura members Ataur Rahman Sunny, Abdul Awal Molla alias Omar alias Shakil Ahmed and Amjad Hossain alias Khalid Saifullah, and Iftekhar Hassan Al Mamun.
Arif, who was absconding during the trial, was on July 10, 2007 and appealed against his sentence. Finally the Appellate Division rejected his appeal on August 28 this year.
He is the first death-row convict executed at the Khulna jail after a decade. On May 9, 2004, the jail authorities hanged top criminal Ershad Sikder.
Hailing from Bandorgachhia village of Barguna, Arif’s relatives were allowed to meet him at noon. He would be buried at his in-law’s village in Bagerhat’s Morelganj, family sources said.
Senior assistant judges of the Jhalakathi court Jagannath Pare and Sohel Ahmed were killed in a suicide at Purba Chadkati of the town when they were going to the court on a microbus on November 14, 2005 as part of the JMB’s all-out attacks on the courts and law enforcers across the country.
Sohel while Jagannath at a hospital. JMB member Mamun, who was injured in the attack, was arrested from the spot.
The JMB recently said that their members had conducted the s after the August 17, 2005 series blasts as the then "government did not respond to their call for establishing Islamic rule in the country positively."
After the execution of the six JMB leaders, its members Jhalakathi public prosecutor Haider Hossain who represented the state in the case "as the first ."
A Jhalakathi court in February last year sentenced to death five members of the JMB for the murder of Haider.
|Bangla Bhai’s deputy Khamaru arrested again|
|[Dhaka Tribune] Executed JMB leader Bangla Bhai's second-in-command Mahtab Khamaru, who was blessed by top BNP leader a decade ago, have been again, for the fourth time since 2005|
Khamaru was arrested from Hamirkutsa area of Baghmara Upazila around 11:30am Monday allegedly for regrouping the organization. He hails from Talghoria village of Hamirkutsa Union.
He was shown arrested in a case filed under the Anti-Terrorism Act and produced before a district court, Baghmara OC Selim Hossain told the Dhaka Tribune’s Abdullah Al Dulal. "The court has sent him to jail. We will seek his remand later."
Khamaru is accused in several cases filed with Baghmara police for murder, torture, abduction and extortion in the area in 2004.
From March 31 to May 24 that year, Shayakh Abdur Rahman’s JMB and its associate organization Jagrata Janata Bangladesh (JMJB) ‐ under the leadership of Siddiqul Islam alias Bangla Bhai ‐ carried out series of attacks on members of the Awami League and outlawed leftist groups with the blessings of the then BNP-Jamaat government. At least 24 people were killed and several hundreds injured in the attacks conducted in broad daylight.
Acting as a regional commander of the JMB, Khamaru even took part in an armed procession of the outfit in Rajshahi town in 2004.
"Police are investigating one of those cases while the others are under trial," the OC said.
After the two outfits were banned on February 23, 2005, RAB arrested Khamaru on November 27. But he was released soon after then prime minister ’s son Tarique phoned state minister for home Lutfozzaman Babar for his release, according to a US embassy cable released by whistleblowing website WikiLeaks.
Tarique was acting at the behest of then state minister for land Ruhul Kuddus Talukder Dulu, the cable says. Several other ministers and local s supported Bangla Bhai at that time.
JMB leader Khamaru was later arrested twice ‐ on March 9, 2007 and July 23, 2012, but managed to come out of jail on bail. In 2012, he was shown arrested in a case filed for abduction and torture of one Amir Ali of Baghmara in 2004. He went into hiding after getting bail.
|SC upholds death for JMB man in Jhalakathi judges murder|
|[Dhaka Tribune] The Supreme Court has upheld the death penalty handed down to a member of banned outfit Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) for carrying out a suicide that killed two judges in Jhalakathi in 2005.|
A five-member Appellate Division panel headed by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha gave the verdict, rejecting the review plea filed by Asadul Islam on Sunday morning.
Senior assistant judges Jagannath Pandey and Sohel Ahmed were killed in the on November 14, 2005.
The Appellate Division had upheld death sentence of seven JMB leaders, including its chief Abdur Rahman, second-in-command Siddiqul Islam alias Bangla Bhai and Asadul, in the case.
The death sentences of all the but Asadul were executed in 2007. Asadul was the same year and has remained in jail. He filed the review petition against the apex court verdict this year.
|Monirul: Main JMB weakening|
|[Dhaka Tribune] Al-Qaeda-inspired JMB, an outlawed group responsible for carrying out series s in 63 districts on this day in 2005, has lost much of its strength in the recent years, detectives say.|
But, the recently-emerged Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) faction has appeared on the scene as a deadlier group than the mainstream one, founded in 1998 by Shayakh Abdur Rahman.
Law enforcers blame the New JMB members for most of the recent '>assassinations including the Gulshan and Sholakia attacks, while some of the attacks were claimed by another group Ansarullah Bangla Team. Ansarullah was declared banned in May last year.
The New JMB is believed to be inspired by international terrorist group and local Ahle Hadith group. It is operated by eight to ten coordinators under the leadership of a yet unidentified spiritual leader from a northern district, detectives say.
Police say they have around 150 New JMB members in the last two years.
The main JMB in June this year issued a statement describing the attacks they have conducted since 1998 and denied having involved in other attacks. It said former majlish-e-sura member Salahuddin alias Salehin alias Sajeeb became their chief after he was snatched from a prison van in February 2014.
In another statement released on July 31, the JMB claimed they had no connection with the Gulshan attack when 23 people mostly foreigners were killed in a restaurant on July 1.
The previous chief, leader Maulana Saidur Rahman, has been in jail since 2010 while its founder was hanged in 2007 along with several other policymakers including Siddiqur Rahman alias Bangla Bhai.
The group was banned on February 23, 2005.
After the August 17 blasts carried out in 511 places, the JMB carried out several s killing at least 33 people before its top leaders were arrested in early 2006. The notorious group came to light by establishing a reign of terror in Rajshahi and re in 2004 by killing and torturing dozens of people, in the name of operations against linked to leftist parties and under the patronisation of some BNP-Jamaat leaders, and the attack on Prof Humayun Azad.
Around 160 cases were filed against the JMB leaders and patrons across the country regarding these incidents. But verdicts have been given in only 88 of the cases in the last 11 years.
At least 51 cases are still waiting for disposal in different district courts.
In the 88 cases, 35 were given death penalty, and of them, only six have been executed so far. The other cases are pending with the top court. The courts sentenced 131 to life-term imprisonment in these cases.
Four out of the 18 cases filed over 33 blasts in Dhaka city on this day in 2005 have been quashed by the courts.
According to the Police Headquarters data, police gave final report in 17 out of 160 cases clearing the accused. The number of people sued in the 143 other cases was 242 but charges were pressed against 1,157 people. Investigators say 960 of the accused have been arrested so far. the number of who secured bail could not be known.
In the recent years, the main JMB members were responsible for several '>assassinations that include Mohammad Shahidullah at Tanore in Rajshahi on May 6, retired sergeant instructor of Kashimpur jail Rustom Hawlader in Gazipur on April 25, Pir Khijir Khan in Badda area of Dhaka on October 5 last year, popular preacher Sheikh Nurul Islam Faruqi in Dhaka on August 27, 2014, and self-proclaimed Pir Lutfar Rahman, his son and four disciples at Gopibagh in Dhaka on December 21, 2013.
|Pro-JMB ‘Ansar Rajshahi’ targets Hindus|
|[Dhaka Tribune] Absconding JMB leader Shariful Islam Khalid, a Rajshahi University student who was allegedly involved in the murder of his teacher Prof AFM Rezaul Karim, is one of the organisers of a new outfit named Ansar Rajshahi raised in Baghmara area, police have claim|
Police have gathered evidence that the outfit prepared a list of local Hindus and secularists, and finalised plans to kill a doctor, Nirendranath Sarker. The members communicate with each other through secured messaging application Threema and social media website Facebook.
The , however, are yet to know when the group started work and the possible number of its members.
They came to know about the outfit after questioning two cousins of Shariful ‐ Aminul Islam Rumi, 23, and Enamul Huq Sabuj, 22, of Sreepur Khamarpara vilage under Baghmara.
The duo were on Monday night and produced before a Rajshahi court the following day with a five-day remand prayer for each. The hearing may take place next week, according to court sources.
During interrogation, Rumi disclosed the names of three of his associates in Ansar Rajshahi ‐ Rawshan Ali alias Akash, of Parbhangura under Pabna’s Bhangura; Abu Ibrahim alias Tareq alias Ripon, and Md Bulbul alias Alamin alias Billal of Boalia in Rajshahi.
Since last year, the JMB members have killed at least seven Hindu priests across the country while threatened several dozen Hindus and Christians with death. The outfit also launched attacks on three Christians in the northern districts. Two of them were killed.
Known as a stronghold of outlawed JMB, Baghmara saw a deadly on a local Ahmadiyya mosque on December 26 last year that killed the JMB er and injured 10 devotees. In 2004, JMB second-in-command Siddiqul Islam alias Bangla Bhai established a reign of terror in the area by killing and torturing scores of people.
Shariful alias Rahat alias Talha, 25, has remained missing for the last 15 months, his family members say. He is the son of Abdul Hakim of Sreepur Khamarpara. He was a student of English department at Rajshahi University. Police claim that he was one of the JMB operatives who hacked Prof Rezaul to death near his house in Shalbagan area on April 23.
The family members of Shariful filed a general diary with the police on July 4 seeking information about him. He used to meet Rumi and Sabuj regularly before he going missing last year.
The RMP authorities on July 29 announced Tk1 lakh bounty for Shariful and another JMB ‐ Nazrul Islam alias Bike Hassan who was wanted in 11 cases filed over the recent '>assassinations including Prof Rezaul murder. Nazrul was killed in an alleged with the DB police in Rajshahi on August 1.
Families unaware of link
Rumi’s family claims his father Saiful Islam was picked up by plainclothes police from the house at Sreepur Khamarpara village around 1am on August 11. Rumi fled the house sensing the presence of the police.
At that time, police allegedly asked the family to hand over Rumi to them to ensure release of Saiful, and they complied with the condition. They went to the around 11am along with Rumi and the police let Saiful go.
Rumi’s mother Tayejan Begum said that her son used to say prayers at the local mosque regularly and work with his father in the field. "He was introvert ... was not attentive in his studies."
Tayejan said that she had no idea what Rumi and Shariful used to do apart from studies. She claimed that Rumi was innocent and demanded that the people behind Ansar Rajshahi be arrested immediately.
A local grocer Ali Hossain said that Rumi and Sabuj used to go to his shop for chat. "They were very close to their cousin Shariful," he told the Dhaka Tribune.
|2005 Mymensingh bomb attack suspect arrested|
|[Dhaka Tribune] (RAB) has a member of Jaamat-ul Mujahideen Bangladesh for his suspected involvement in the 2005 in Mymensingh.|
A team of RAB-14 apprehended the suspect, Mehdi Habib Md Rafiq, from a residential building in Board Bazar area, Gazipur on Wednesday night. Rafiq is from Iqbalpur village in Jamalpur disrict, RAB sources said.
The arrestee was a close accomplice with top leaders of the banned Islamist group, especially Shaykh Abdur Rahman and Bangla Bhai, said RAB 14 Commander Lt Col Enamul Arif Suman.
He had been in hiding for the last 10 years, he told the Dhaka Tribune.
The 2005 terror attack in Mymensingh was a series of s that took place in the premises of Mymensingh Court, office of the lawyers' association, Mymensingh Press Club and on the campus of Bangladesh Agricultural University.
|Local militants inspired by al-Qaeda, Taliban|
|[Dhaka Tribune] Islamist in the country took inspiration from the ideals of al-Qaeda, the Afghan Taliban and other similar outfits of Pakistain to preach radicalism, train their activists and carry out organised terrorist attacks across the country in the past three decades.|
When this correspondent interviewed leaders Abdur Rahman and Siddiqul Islam -- the latter became widely known as Bangla Bhai -- in May 2004, they said how they had been inspired by Taliban.
Abdur Rahman had said: "Our model includes many leaders and scholars of Islam. But we will take as much [ideological elements] from the Taliban as we need."
|Quamrul: Jamaat-Hefajat new version of al-Qaeda|
|[Dhaka Tribune] Food Minister Advocate Quamrul Islam termed Jamaat- Shibir-Hefajat as a homegrown newer version of al-Qaeda, reports BSS.|
He urged everyone to build resistance against them while speaking at a discussion titled 'Who are involved in conspiracy and Al Qaeda activities for foiling peace in Bangladesh' at the Jatiya Press club in the capital on Wednesday.
"The speeches of the leaders of BNP, Jamaat and Hefajat delivered in different times have striking similarity with Tareq Rahman's video footage sent from London and al-Qaeda leader's recent speech," he said, urging: "All to remain alert against these evil forces."
Terming Tareq Rahman as the young agent of al-Qaeda in Bangladesh, the food minister said Jaamat-Hefajat and BNP are the Bangladeshi versions of al-Qaeda, an international outfit.
Advocate Quamrul said Tareq Rahman has been working as an agent of al-Qaeda as militancy emerged in the country immediately after Tareq Rahman joined politics.
During the time, the minister said, bomb simultaneously in 63 districts when Bangla Bhai, leader of banned Jama'tul Mujahidden emerged. Bangla Bhai was later hanged to death.
Deshratna Shebok Sangha organized the discussion with its president Chittya Ranjan Das in the chair. Among others, Krishak League vice president M A Karim and AL leader Shahjahan Alam spoke on the occasion.
|Khaleda queen of destruction PM tells rally|
|[Bangla Daily Star] Prime Minister yesterday said the BNP chief does not know any other politics except politics of destruction.|
"Begum Zia is a queen of destruction. She knows only destruction. She can only take, but can't give anything to the country except for terrorism and militancy," the PM told a mammoth rally at Charghat High School ground in the afternoon.
The BNP, she said, has been cursed by a humiliating failure as it waged a hollow movement. "This is yet another failure in her [Khaleda's] life after dozens of similar ones in the past, including the failure she had experienced in her matriculation exams," added the premier.
BNP's coming to power means "return of terrorism and militancy" in the country. The party had caused a reign of terror when it was in power from 2001 to 2006, complained Hasina.
"They had created dreadful Bangla Bhai and fomented widespread militancy during that period," she added.
Before the January 5 parliamentary polls, said the PM, the BNP had announced that it would not allow holding the elections, knowing well that people are the owners of their rights of franchise. "The party was out to resist the polls through enforcing s and blockades. But the people didn't respond to their movement," she noted.
She accused the BNP of taking a "beastly " on people by burning them to death as they did not respond to its movement. The party killed 135 people by enforcing blockades for 34 days, mentioned the PM.
Also the president of Awami League, Hasina referred to a recent survey by the US-based Democracy International. It showed that the AL would have won the January 5 polls by at least a 5.8 percent margin even if the BNP-Jamaat had contested the elections.
"This proves that the BNP would have suffered a sure defeat. Knowing well about its bad luck, this party didn't join the polls race," she said.