Four Islamic terrorists belonging to the Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) were sentenced to death in Bangladesh Sunday for the 2016 decapitation of a senior Hindu priest during a spate of attacks targeting religious minorities in the Muslim-majority nation.
In Feb 2016, two assailants armed with pistols and cleavers had attacked Jogeswar Roy (45), the head priest of Sri Sri Sant Gourio Math, at his home in the temple in the remote northern district of Panchagarh, Bangladesh. The priest was preparing for morning prayers when the attackers pounced on him and slit his head from the body at the verandah of his home inside the temple. Two other devotees were also injured in the attack.
The Islamic State (IS) terror group had claimed responsibility for the attack but authorities blamed terrorists from JMB. “The court… sentenced all four to death over the murder. They are JMB members,” Abdur Rafique, a court official in the capital Dhaka, told AFP.
In June 2016, another Hindu priest Ananda Gopal Ganguly (70) was hacked to death in Jhinaigah district by three men, another attack claimed by IS. Just days later, Hindu ashram worker Nityaranjan Pandey (60) was hacked to death in Pabna district.
Bangladesh’s Hindu community makes up around 9 percent of the country’s population of 168 million.
JMB was blamed for the murders of minorities, secular writers, publishers and foreigners between 2013 and 2016. Among them was a savage attack at a Dhaka cafe in 2016 that killed 22 people, mostly foreigners. Seven Islamist extremists were sentenced to death in November over the assault that was also claimed by the IS.
Bangladesh security forces launched a nationwide crackdown after the cafe siege, killing more than 100 members of the JMB including its top leaders, and arresting hundreds of suspected terrorists.
Roots of terror outfit JMB
This HAF (Hindu American Foundation) report explains the origins of JMB –
“Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) Bangladesh is an offshoot of the Jamaat organization that was founded in undivided Bharat in 1941 by Maulana Abul Ala Mauddudi. Jamaat drew its inspiration from the Deobandi school of Islam, known for promoting religious extremism in several countries in the region, and modeled itself after the Muslim Brotherhood. Separate branches were subsequently established in both Pakistan and Bangladesh (then East Pakistan), also known as Jamaat-e-Islami, following Bharat’s partition. JeI Bangladesh and its student wing, Islami Chhatra Shibir (ICS), continue to primarily draw their members from Deobandi seminaries in the country.
JeI and ICS have a long history of radicalism and violence, and both strive to create a Taliban style regime in Bangladesh. JeI is the most powerful Islamist group in the country and has been the ideological center and recruiting base for several terrorist groups, including Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami Bangladesh (HuJI-B), a US State Department designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), and Jamaat-ul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB). HuJI-B’s parent organization Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami has also been banned by the United Nations, the United Kingdom, and Bharat, while the British and Bangladeshi governments have further outlawed HuJI-B and JMB.”
According to SATP (South Asia Terrorism Portal), Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (Party of the Mujahideen) aims at establishing the rule of Islam in Bangladesh through an armed struggle. The outfit is opposed to the establishment of democracy and calls for the conduct of government under Islamic law. The outfit’s growth received a boost after the Bangladesh National Party-led coalition Government under Prime Minister Khaleda Zia came to power in 2001. Many members of the JMB were found to be cadres of the Islami Chhatra Shibir (ICS), student wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami, a partner in the ruling coalition.
Jamaat-e-Islami was vehemently opposed to the separation of West and East Pakistan, and colluded with the Pakistan Army in carrying out a genocide of 3 million people (mostly Bangladeshi Hindu) in the 1971 Bangladesh war of liberation, which also saw over 200,000 women raped and about 10 million people forced to flee to neighbouring Bharat.
Resolute prosecution of Islamist terrorists & war criminals by Sheikh Hasina
After coming to power in 2008, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of the Awami League set up International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) to try those accused of war crimes. Between 2013 and 2016, five Jamaat leaders have been executed under convictions of genocide and other atrocities.
One must commend Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina for the resolute action initiated against such war criminals soon after coming power. She dared to take on the premier opposition party and powerful Islamist lobby, and ensured death penalty for top Islamist masterminds despite usual protests by Western human rights bodies like Human Rights Watch and UN human rights ‘experts’. Bangladesh’s judiciary must also be congratulated for upholding national interest and natural justice. There is much Bharat can learn from this, especially the kid gloves with which our system has handled Kashmiri Islamist terrorists like Yaseen Malik or homegrown extremist bodies like PFI and JIH (Jamaat-e-Islami Hind).
Of course, this does not absolve Awami League for the soft-Islamism they practise. Persecution of the hapless Hindu minority cuts across party lines in Bangladesh. But at least in firm tackling of the jihadi terror threat, which she sees as a direct threat to her party and country, Sheikh Hasina has offered some much needed respite to her Hindu minority.
JIH and other Islamists in Bharat violently protested in Kolkata, West Bengal over the war crimes tribunal set up by Bangladesh. Many JMB terrorists have infiltrated into Bharat and established safe houses and bomb-making units under the benevolent gaze of pro-Islamist ‘secular’ parties like TMC, CPM and Congress which have ruled West Bengal since Independence. The extent of JMB’s penetration into West Bengal came to light after the Burdwan blast in October 2014 for which an NIA court last year convicted 19, including 4 Bangaldeshis. The same set of Islamists has been holding violent protests, cheered by the country’s left-liberal intelligentsia, against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
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