SILCHAR: That there had been deeper conspiracy to upset Sheikh Hasina’s government and destabilise Bangladesh by fundamentalist, terrorist and extremist groups was more than clear with the findings of the investigation agencies linking these forces with the mutiny of Bangladesh Rifles in February last. About 12 rebel groups were identified by the government which included Jameatul Mujahideen and Harkut-ul-Jihad Islami. Commerce Minister Col. Faruq Khan who coordinated with the intelligence agencies into the BDR mutiny expressed his concern at the role of these groups. The home ministry sounded an intelligence alert about these outfits.
The other outfits named in the report were Hizbul Towhid, Ulama Anjuman al Bainat, Hizb-Ut-Tahir, Islami Democratic Party, Islamic Samaj, Touhid Trust, Jagrat Muslim Janata Bangladesh, Sahadat-e-al-Hikam Party Bangladesh, Tanira al-Din Bangladesh and Allah Dal. Of these, the government has already banned four outfits—Jagrat Muslim Janata Bangladesh, Sahadat-e-al-Hikam Party, Huji and Jameatul Mujahideen. Huji, a global terrorist group with Pakistani links, has been proscribed by USA.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has issued order to intensify the security vigil and directed the intelligence agencies to coordinate action against militant groups. Soon after coming to power, Sheikh Hasina who herself survived two assassination attempts from such groups had indicated the resolve of her government to uproot militancy and track down their patrons and funding sources in line with her election pledge.
Her government later approved a tough anti-terror ordinance suggesting capital punishment to terrorists after speedy trials in special tribunals. Six top Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh kingpins including its chief Sheikh Abdur Rahman were executed while Huji chief Mufti Abdul Hannan and some other members of his group were arrested to face justice.
The north-east rebels too, according to sources from across the border, are feeling the heat of tough stand taken by the new regime. Paresh Barua, Commander-in-Chief of ULFA, and Jeevan Singh, Kamtapuri Liberation Organisation supreme, are reportedly under detention. While Barua was taken into custody from Dhanmandi area of Dhaka, Singh was detained by police from a hotel in Rajsahi district. This crack-down in a select manner on top leaders has sent shivers down the camps, and bases of the rebel groups of north-east spread across the country.
Quite interestingly, leaders and activists of various insurgent groups have been arrested recently from metropolitan cities of India, enough evidence to indicate that their escape to and shelter in Bangladesh is no more safe. Dima Halam Daogah (DHD), Commander-in-Chief and Deputy Commander were arrested in Bengaluru and Foreign Secretary killed in an encounter in Guwahati. Jewel Gorlosa, chief of the DHD, was held with two others in a joint raid by Assam and Karnataka police. With him was Deputy Commander-in-Chief, Partho Warisa.
After being tipped-off-about the movement of Frankie Dimasa, Foreign Secretary, and some other cadres of the outfit, the Assam police cordoned-off the thinly populated Bishnu Nagar hill area of Guwahati. In the encounter that followed, Frankie was killed while others managed to flee. Gorlosa who had travelled from Kathmandu to Bengaluru and was trying to get a passport.
Close on the heels of these developments came the arrest of a top leader of Manipur based Kanglei Yawol Kangla Lup (KYKL) RK Raghunath along with an award winning film actress of the State Devika Devi from a New Delhi guest house in South Extension area. Four senior extremists of Kangleipak Communist Party were arrested in the national capital and two activists of this outfit were nabbed in Bengaluru. Similarly, security forces arrested some PLA cadres in Mumbai and Kolkata.
In the wake of these arrests and detentions, much sensation has been created over the statement of former chief of Director General of Field Forces Intelligence of Bangladesh. He had said that in the ongoing trial of offenders in Chittagong court the ISI of Pakistan had sent huge consignment of arms and ammunitions worth crores of rupees for ULFA in direct collusion with Bangladesh army and intelligence officials during Khaleda Zia regime. At the behest of ISI, he further stated Tareq Rahman, son of Khaleda Zia, former Prime Minister, and the then Deputy Home Minister, Lutfuzzaman Babur had held secret meetings with Paresh Barua.
On the basis of these confessional statements, Sahabuddin, the then Director of the National Security Intelligence of Bangladesh, was taken into custody. Bangladesh Nationalist Party and its ally Jamaat-e-Islam knew about the smuggling of arms and ammunitions to help the dreaded militant outfit of north-east. According to his statement, ISI purchased arms and ammunitions from China and then shipped them to Chittagong Port. ISI leader Major Gen. Ehsanul had mediated with ULFA leader Paresh Barua on the matter.