Compensation for the victims of Islamic Militancy and for those arrested on false charges
Text of the speech by Shahriar Kabir presented at the press conference held at Dhaka Reporter's Unity Club auditorium on 16 March 2006, organized by Nirmul Committee (Forum for Secular Bangladesh)
Under the growing consensus and rage among the people as well as pressurefrom the development partners from the west against the Islamic militancy, the incumbent 4 party alliance Government was forced to apprehend Shayakh Abdur Rahman, Bangla Bhai and few other leading members of 'Jamiatul Mujahidin', 'Harkatul Jihad' and 'Jagroto Muslim Jonota' and to ban the activities of four militant organization. The apprehension of Abdur Rahman-Bangla Bhai-Mufti Hannan et al evidences the falsification of theclaims by the Government,especially by the Amir of Jamat-e-Islami and minister of commerce & industry Motiur Rahman Nizami about the existence of the afore-said Islamic militant network as imaginary, fictitious and creation of media.
The country acknowledged for the first time about the existence of a big Islamic militant network in 1999 when few members of 'Harkatul Zihad' were apprehended in an attempt to murder the eminent poet Shamsur Rahman. It was published in a leading news paper that 'Harkatul Zihad' recruited around 25000 militants all over the country. The involvement of Jamaat-e-Islami and some members of the incumbent Government in a series of actions i.e.
installing explosive in the then prime minister Sheikh Hasina's meeting, bomb attack in Udichi congregation, Chhayanot gathering, Baniarchar Church, CPB meeting, Cinema Halls, Fairs and later grenade attack at Sheikh Hasina's meeting in August 21st, grenade attack and killing of Ex finance minister and Awami League leader Dr. Kibria, attack and killing of Prof.
Humayun Azad, Prof.Mohammod Yunus and so on and so forth was claimed and was endeavored to bring into Government's notice. Instead Government always put the blame onto the Awami League, India and the secularist, progressive intellectuals.
Abdur Rahman has admitted the responsibility of attacks on poet Shamsur Rahman, Professor Humayun Azad and Professor Mohammad Younus. He also admitted the responsibility of the other attacks on Cinema, Theatre, Mazar (Shrine) and other places. He admitted that on approval of Jamaat-e-Islami they started the explosive attack all over the country.
Abdur Rahman mentioned the name of three cabinet members of BNP, the mayor of the Rajshahi city corporation, members of the parliament and few other Government officials who have cooperated with them. He also mentioned about their alliance with other India, Pakistan and Afghanistan based militant organizations.
During the interrogation Abdur Rahman also informed about the involvement of Islamic Bank in their monetary transaction. Evidences have been found in support of Rahman's statement after the investigation in different branches of Islamic Bank taken place. In 14th march Islamic
Bank, which is conducted by Jamat-e-Islami has been show caused by the Bangladesh Bank for their alleged involvement in monetary transaction with Islamic militancy.
Though the apprehended leading members of JBM along with Abdur Rahman admitted the responsibility of all the explosives attack in the past time and revealed the information about their domestic and international network, Prime Minister Khaleda Zia is still accusing Awami League and India in her speeches in public meetings for the militancy. We believe such
dissemination of lies stemming from the Prime Minister herself may hinder the overall investigation process. We also suspect that if the patrons (names that came out from the apprehended JMB leaders) of the Islamic militancy within the Government are not arrested, they might try to destroy the evidences/proofs of their involvement and thereby impede the normal investigation process. We were informed from different news papers and
several other sources that the remnant of the JMB cadres are still dominating and intimidating the general people in different parts in North Bengal. The victims of JBM cadres are still at their mercy and are greatly susceptible to their future potential attack.
Information that we have received about the statements of Abdur Rahman and other leading JMB members in the interrogation through news media this is quite evident that,
(A) The investigation process would not be uninterrupted and transparent unless the chief patrons of JBM are not arrested
(B) As long as the financial sponsor of the Militant organizations such as Islamic Bank and other Islamic NGOs are operational the militant situation will remain as it is.
(C) If the militant organizations from the neighboring countries continue to pour money, arms and ammunitions into Bangladesh, the strength of Islamic militancy in Bangladesh will keep rising.
The victims of the Islamic militancy and their family members are present at today's press conference. The journalists, politicians, professors, those of whom were deliberately blamed and were falsely implicated in several incidents and tortured by the Government out of their vengeance are also present here.On behalf of the conscious citizens of this country we would like to demand to the Government the followings:
(1) The patrons and collaborators of the militants; ministers, members of the parliament, district level leaders of the BNP-Jamaat alliance, those who are yet not arrested need to be arrested soon.
(2) The Government has banned only four militant organizations. We have got to know from the reports of the leading news papers that at least 98 of different sizes militant organizations are active in Bangladesh. Among all these Hizbut Tahrir is the biggest one. They claim that the
circumference of their net work permeate in around hundred countries. Though their activities are banned in Middle East, Central Asia and even in Pakistan, they are well organized in Bangladesh and running their activities without any hindrances. The arrested militant leaders also admitted the involvement of Ahle-Hadith with them. We demand the ban of all
the activities of Hizbut Tahrir and Ahle-Hadith and other militant organization. At the same time we demand the ban of communal politics of Jamaat-Shibir, the originator of militancy in Bangladesh.
(3) We demand the ban of all the banks including sharia based Islamic bank run by Islamic fundamentalists and militant organizations. The officials of those banks who were involved in monetary transactions with the militant group will have to be brought into justice. At the same time the activities of all the Islamic NGOs who extend financial support to the militant groups for terrorist activities will have to shut down.
(4) The Madrassas that were used as recruiting and training camp of the militants, the teachers and the directors of those Madrassas should also be brought into justice. The Madrassa education system needs reform in its structure and needs to be rearranged in such a way so that they are not used as factories to produce militants any more.
(5)Those who were the victim of the explosive attack and those who were tortured and assaulted by the Government putting into jails under false implication will have to be compensated financially and the Government should seek apology for denying the existence of the militants intentionally.
(6)If the Government is truly eager to investigate the militant issue and to ensure the transparency then the interrogation of the apprehended militant leaders should be dealt under the supervision of the United Nation's International Investigation Team.
To uproot the regional net work of the militant organizations we believe a regional consortium should be created by Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Myanmar.
We hope that the Government through meeting our demands will prove that they are not the patron of the militant and are sincere to eradicate terrorist activities of Islamic militants in Bangladesh.
Acting President, Forum for Secular Bangladesh
General Secretary, South Asian People's Union Against Fundamentalism & Communalism
* The press conference was presided over by Prof. Kabir Chowdhury, while addressed by the victims of the present govt. include poet Shamsur Rahman, Prof. Muntassir Mamoon, journalist Enamul Haque Chowdhury, Latifa Kohinur(wife of slain writer Prof. Humayun Azad of Dhaka University), Rehana Khatun (wife of slain Prof. Muhammad Younus of Rajshahi Uninersity), Principal Motiur Rahman Chowdhury, Abu Abbas (student leader) and Advocate Mahbube Alam, president of Supreme Court Bar Association). More than 60 victims from different part of Bangladesh attended the press conference.