In a sensational revelation, a member of Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) has said the militant group took part in the Kansat movement in April 2006 because they felt betrayed by the then BNP-led coalition government.
The JMB part-timer or gayeri ehsar, interviewed by The Daily Star, also said the militant group has opened two new offices in greater Rajshahi and greater Bogra alongside taking up new strategies to recruit members.
JMB became involved in the second round of the four-point Kansat movement in Shibganj upazila of Chapainawabganj on April 21, 2006. A leader of the movement who had prior contacts with the militant group used 500 local JMB full-time and part-time members to destroy government property and set alight several government cars.
The JMB members then left the Kansat movement.
The part-time JMB member also said the outfit decided to take part in the movement to unsettle the then BNP government as the BNP went back on the pledge to protect the organisation and annihilate the Sarbaharas. The pledge was given to executed JMB chief Shaikh Abdur Rahman and his deputy Siddiqul Islam alias Bangla Bhai before the organisation was deployed under the banner of Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh (JMJB).
This sense of betrayal led JMB members to single out government property and vehicles for attacks in Kansat.
The Kansat movement started on January 2006 after locals brought allegation of irregularities against the local Rural Electricity Board officials and irregular power supply.
JMB'S CURRENT STATUS
The part-time JMB member told The Daily Star that despite being weakened by the government crackdown, the outfit is still using different border routes in Chapainawabganj and Jessore to smuggle in bomb-making materials and small arms from India.
He revealed that active members of Majlish-e-Shura are trying to keep the organisation afloat in Dhaka and other divisional towns. Some of the Shura members are "Bhaigna" Shahid from Gaibandha, Hossain alias Shakil and Mahfuz from Pabna, and Saifullah and Abdur Rahim of Chapainawabganj.
Saifullah, Abdur Rahim and a few other members are in charge of smuggling in bomb-making materials through different border routes of Chapainawabganj and bringing them to a recently opened office about 12-13 kilometres east of Rajshahi sadar.
Another office has been opened in an area between Bogra and Joypurhat districts for the same purpose. Houses of JMB workers have been hired for setting up the two offices. The owners of the houses look after the materials.
The JMB member said recruitment has been stalled since JMB's leadership was recast last November. They are including those related to JMB members through blood or marriage while both old ehsar and gayeri ehsar members are being accepted if they want to be active again, he said.
Shura member Bhaigna Shahid, who can make 12 bombs in an hour using electric circuits, had his bodyguard Russel arrested in Bogra two months ago. Shahid has revived his activities in Bogra.
The JMB is planning attacks in several important districts including Dhaka to embarrass the government, the gayeri ehsar said, adding that recce would be done before implementation of the plan.