Babar, Salam helped Huji execute plot | The Daily Star
11:00 PM, December 01, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:00 PM, December 01, 2009

Babar, Salam helped Huji execute plot

IO reports to court about Aug 21 attack on Hasina

Detained former BNP ministers Lutfozzaman Babar and Abdus Salam Pintu had assisted banned Islamist group Huji in its botched attempt to kill Awami League President Sheikh Hasina on August 21, 2004.
Abdul Kahar Akand, investigation officer in two cases filed for August 21 grenade attack, said this at a Dhaka court yesterday.
He was seeking a day's fresh remand for Huji founder Sheikh Abdus Salam. The court granted the prayer.
The IO said Harkatul Jihad al Islami first planned to kill Hasina, now prime minister, and some of her party colleagues during AL's previous tenure in 1996-2001.
It took the decision as it found the then government an obstacle to its campaign that included recruiting and training youths as its operatives, and procurement of firearms for fellow militants fighting in India and Afghanistan.
"Huji grew desperate to execute the plan after the Awami League rule ended [in 2001]. At that time, they had assistance from Babar and Pintu through Pintu's brother and Huji leader Moulana Tajuddin," Akand said in his remand prayer to Metropolitan Magistrate Zulfiker Hayat.
Some other individuals too had aided Huji in its failed bid to assassinate Hasina five years ago, he added.
Akand said Babar and Pintu, then state minister for home and deputy minister for education, had directly helped Tajuddin flee the country and take shelter in Pakistan.
Tajuddin, still at large, had supplied the grenades used in the August 21 blasts that killed at least 23 AL leaders and workers and injured over 300 others, he added.
Both Salam Pintu and his brother are charge-sheeted accused in the August 21 carnage cases.
The Criminal Investigation Department pressed charges against them and 20 others including Huji boss Mufti Abdul Hannan during the last caretaker government rule.
It arrested Babar after a court on August 3 ordered further investigation to find out the patrons of the attackers and suppliers of the grenades.
Akand, an additional superintendent of police at CID, said they had lately seized some documents and Tajuddin's journal following up information gleaned from Salam. The papers may hold important clues.
At present, the investigators are working to hunt down the others who had aided and abetted the Huji men in the attack.
Salam, now convener of Islamic Democratic Party, was earlier remanded for 14 days. He was arrested on November 2 for suspected links with the August 21 blasts.
During interrogation, he said he returned to Bangladesh after the end of Afghan war against former Soviet Union and formed Huji along with other war returnees.
He said they had trained many youths, mainly madrasa students, how to operate firearms and bombs. Most of their recruits came from Pakistan-administered Kashmir and Bangladesh.
They had also mobilised funds, arms and ammunition for insurgents in Kashmir of India.
But the going got tough after AL came to power in 1996.

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