JMB planned to kill, foil polls | The Daily Star
11:00 PM, August 05, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:00 PM, August 05, 2009

JMB planned to kill, foil polls

Hasina, Khaleda were prime targets; about dozen operatives from India hired to execute bloodshed plot

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Banned militant outfit Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) had planned to assassinate either Sheikh Hasina or Khaleda Zia in its failed bid to foil the ninth parliamentary polls.
This chilling information was revealed by Zahidul Islam Sumon alias "Boma" Mizan during interrogation, say sources in the elite Rapid Action Battalion (Rab), which arrested him in Mirpur in the capital on May 14.
Mizan also told the interrogators they had even hired about a dozen JMB members from India to execute the blueprint, says an investigator on the understanding of anonymity.
The investigator who interrogated Mizan on several occasions says the militant leader admitted that JMB has a network in West Bengal in India which is weakening gradually.
The outlawed outfit had earlier formed a small but effective group in India. But most of its Indian members defected following continuous crackdown on JMB in Bangladesh which saw arrests of many top to field level leaders here.
Six leaders of JMB top brass including its ex-chief Abdur Rahman were executed following their arrests.
Rahman had first initiated the move to form a small group in Indian when he went to the country to receive training on arms and explosives. He had also received training in Afghanistan and Pakistan by Tehrik-e-Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Mizan told the investigators he used to communicate with Saif, a significant contact person in West Bengal, over phone.
Saif who still works for JMB in India is responsible to conduct "Dawati" [invitation to embrace same ideology] activities to recruit workers for the Indian chapter.
The investigator citing Mizan's statement told The Daily Star: "Before the national elections 10 Indian JMB members visited Bangladesh in two equally divided groups."
The Indian JMB members were brought in to execute the plan of foiling the ninth national election that was eventually held peacefully on December 29 last year.
The Indians left Bangladesh in the beginning of February as the plan did not work, Mizan claims.
Mizan said they had realised that the polls would be cancelled if they could kill any of the two top national leaders -- Sheikh Hasina, now prime minister, or Khaleda Zia, leader of the opposition.
So they had chalked out their plan in accordance with their idea, he said.
They had also planned to kill any of the high-profile candidates of the elections in northern region as part of their master plan, he revealed.
Mizan said they had chosen the North as they believe they have more organisational strength in that region.
But all the killing plans failed as two significant members -- Hanif and Russell -- were arrested before the elections.
Mizan told the investigators they had also planned to assassinate Hasina in the beginning of the caretaker rule but failed.
He said in another attempt JMB member Sa'ad was assigned to kill Hasina in her grand election rally at Paltan Maidan. Mizan said Sa'ad went to the venue with a grenade but does not know why the latter failed to execute the plan.
Asked how far Mizan's statement is correct, the Rab investigator told The Daily Star, "We had information that Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia might come under attack at their grand election rallies at Paltan. That's why the authorities provided them with bulletproof lecture stand to ensure their security."
Hasina delivered her speech at the election rally standing inside the bulletproof lecture stand, though Khaleda did not use it for her rally.
Mizan also told the investigators JMB had formed a team led by Shahed to kill Khaleda, but the plan also did not work.
One month before his (Mizan's) arrest Shahed left Bangladesh for Swat in Pakistan to embrace martyrdom through fighting for the militants there, he said.
He further said the arrest of an ehsar (full-time member) Mohammad Hanif alias Kamal and Zubayer alias Russell before the elections forced them to scrap their plans.
Rab arrested Hanif in mid-November in Mirpur and seized 70kg explosives following his confession soon after the arrest. Russell, JMB's Majlish-e-Sura member, was arrested in Chapainawabganj.
Despite the change of plan, JMB tried to attack Khaleda in Chandina in Comilla on December 23, just five days before the polls. Mizan said this plan failed due to some technical mistakes.
Rab sources say they foiled the plan to attack Khaleda in Chandina as they arrested a few JMB men and recovered grenades from that area at the night of December 23.
Mizan said they had manufactured the improvised grenades to attack top leaders in their election rallies.
He said he fled to India after the crackdown on JMB following the countrywide simultaneous blasts on August 17, 2005 and was called back to manufacture explosives and train up some members.
Mizan also said during his stay in India he used to live in a village in Karimpur in Nadia district. There was a group of 20-25 Indians who were members of JMB. But later all of them left the outfit and joined Indian National League (INL), a Muslim-based political party.
He said in the Vidhan Sabha (Legislative Assembly) election in 2008 JMB leaders forbade their Indian members to cast their votes, but they denied the directive and defected to avoid the risks of involvement with an underground outfit.
Eight to 10 more Indian JMB members also joined INL in Lalgola in Murshidabad, according to Mizan's statement to the investigators. He also disclosed that now there are around a dozen members active in India.
He said JMB members in India used to hold weekly and monthly meetings to prepare themselves as soldiers of the outfit and come to Bangladesh to discharge their duties.
Mizan claims there was no involvement of any Indian JMB members in any terror attacks launched by the outfit in Bangladesh.
He said only one Indian named Al Amin presently stays in Dhaka along with local JMB member Zahid, who manufactures improvised grenades in Dholaikhal.
Al Amin married a Bangladeshi woman, he said.

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