Police yesterday pressed charges against five operatives of outlawed Neo JMB (Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh) in connection with the Sholakia attack in Kishoreganj, more than two years after the militant strike left four including a suspect dead.
The police have found involvement of 24 JMB militants in the attack but made five of them accused as the rest were killed in different raids, Arifur Rahman, inspector (investigation) of Kishoreganj Sadar police, told The Daily Star.
Islamic thinker Maulana Farid Uddin Masoud, also the Imam of the largest Eid congregation, was the target of the attack for his anti-militancy speech and activities. The militants eventually attacked policemen, who stopped them on their way to the target, he added.
Arifur, also the investigation officer of the case, submitted the charge sheet to the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Kishoreganj yesterday afternoon.
The accused are Jahangir Alam alias Rajib Gandhi, 32, Mizanur Rahman alias Boro Mizan, 60, Abdus Sabur Khan alias Sohel Mahfuz, 33, Jahidul Haque Tanim 24, and Anwar Hossain, 45.
All five are now behind bars, said Toufiqul Islam, court inspector of Kishoreganj.
Rajib and Sohel had earlier given confessional statements under section 164 before the court.
The duo and Mizanur were also accused in a Gulshan café attack that left 20 hostages, mostly foreigners, and two police officials killed on July 1, 2016.
Rajib was a fund collector and Mizanur and Sohel were grenade suppliers of “Neo JMB” that carried out both the café and Sholakia attacks within a span of one week.
In the Sholakia attack, 40-year-old Jharna Rani Bhowmik and two policemen were killed as a group of six to seven militants attacked the law enforcers, who were frisking people at the entry to the Eidgah ground on July 7, 2016.
A suspected militant was also killed in police retaliation.
Soon after the incident, police arrested suspects Shafiul Islam alias Shariful Islam alias Saiful Islam, 22, and Jahidul Haque Tanim.
Shafiul and an unidentified youth were killed in a “shootout” with Rapid Action Battalion in Nandail upazila of Mymensingh in August 2016.
The police sued two suspected militants and some unnamed people for the attack on July 10, 2016 under the Anti-Terrorism Act.
In his reaction, Gouranganath Bhowmik, husband of victim Jharna Rani, said they are happy that the charge sheet was submitted.
“Now we want quick disposal of the case to ensure punishment of the culprits,” he added.
The café and subsequent Sholakia attacks shook the country and law enforcers launched all-out operations against the militants, busting several hideouts and killing a good number of top militants.