Bangladesh goes for the roots of terrorism
Apr 1, 2007 - 1:24:50 PM

Dhaka, April 1 - The Bangladesh caretaker government's efforts to crush all overt and covert militant Islamist fundamentalist groups has been affected by its inability to identify their patrons among the politicians and bureaucrats, a senior official has admitted.

A committee of officials formed to identify the patrons has not met with success so far, Home Secretary Abdul Karim admitted to New Age newspaper, but said the efforts would continue.

'The networks of most of the militants have been dismantled as a result of drastic action...But we will keep the remaining ones on the run,' Karim said.

The failure to trace the sources of funds and the patrons has given the militants enough confidence to revive their organisations and resume their activities, the newspaper said.

In the first breakthrough, however, a former minister has been directly implicated in unleashing cadres of the banned Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh - for kidnapping and torturing Fazlur Rahman, a farmer.

Aminul Haq, post and telecommunications minister in the government of Begum Khaleda Zia, used the good offices of JMB's number two, Siddiqul Islam alias Bangla Bhai.

Rahman, 43, maimed after the torture, has filed charges against the former minister and four workers of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party - that was part of the ruling coalition -.

Bangla Bhai was one of the six militants hanged last Friday for killing two judges.

This is the first case against any of those ex-BNP ministers and lawmakers widely alleged to have backed the rise of Islamist militancy in the northern districts, Daily Star newspaper noted Sunday.

The Khaleda Zia government did not take any visible steps to identify and arrest the patrons, not even the persons who openly supported the extremist activities and were identified by the media at different times, it said.

Media reports indicate that the Zia government ministers and lawmakers provided political patronage as a quid pro quo for getting the Islamist cadres to settle scores with rivals.

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