।। Special Correspondent, Rajshahi ।।
The members are working to reorganize Harkatul Jihad Bangladesh (HUJI-B) with the fund coming from Dubai. Atiqullah, the imprisoned top leader of the banned militant group, has been in regular contact with them on mobile phone from inside the jail. Their plan includes recruiting new members as well as trying to free imprisoned leaders.
Recently, two members arrested in Rajshahi, including Huji-B regional commander Ibrahim Khalil, have given judicial confessional statements in court. That’s where they reported the shocking information.
The case is being handed over to the Anti-Terrorism Unit (ATU) of the police after he testified in court after being interrogated on a four-day remand. Rajshahi Metropolitan Police (RMP) Commissioner Mr. Abu Kalam Siddique said the docket of the case would be handed over to ATU on Tuesday. Then they will investigate the matter.
Atiqullah: The key player
Huji-B members detained in Rajshahi said in their confessional statement that Atiqullah, a prisoner in Kashimpur jail, used to instruct them to organize on mobile phones. Besides, he had complete control over how and where the money would come from.
When asked, the RMP commissioner said, They (the two detainees) have given some important information about through whom Atiqullah used to communicate from inside the jail. “But it is not possible to go into details in the interest of the investigation”, the commissioner added.
According to the confessional statement given by Atiqullah after his arrest in Dhaka in 2019, it was said in the media at that time that he was the first line leader of Harkatul Jihad. He joined Harkatul Jihad in 1991 through Maulana Abdus Salam, Mufti Abdul Rauf and Hafeez Yahya while studying at Jamia Darul Ma’arif Al Islamia, a Qaumi educational institution in Bahaddarhat, Chittagong. He then served as the organizing secretary of Chittagong metropolis. Atiqullah was the organizing secretary of Mufti Hannan’s Central Committee formed in 1996 and later the responsible leader of the Baitul Maal and International Relations Department. He fled to Saudi Arabia in the early days of the last caretaker government and went into hiding. He also visited Pakistan more than once for organizational work.
Atiqullah is known as a bomb expert. He also fought in the anti-Soviet war in Afghanistan. During that time, he met with Taliban leader Mullah Omar and al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.
Atiqullah left Saudi Arabia for Dubai in early 2019. He came to Bangladesh from Dubai in March. The main goal of his return to the country was to try to free the imprisoned members. Before returning to the country from Dubai, Atiqullah had a meeting with Mufti Shahidul Islam, who lives there. On February 2019, At that meeting, it was decided that funds for Harkatul Jihad would be collected from different countries through a committee.
He was arrested in October 2019 from the Nikunj area of Dhaka, seven months after returning to country. After the arrest, law enforcement said they were planning instability by capitalizing on two issues, including the Rohingya issue.
The mysterious Mufti!
On 2019, Atiqullah further said in his statement that Mufti Shahidul Islam was organizing the militant group Huji-B from Dubai. Mufti Shahidul Islam came to Bangladesh from Pakistan in the late eighties. He was elected a Member of Parliament in the 2001 by-elections on behalf of the Islami Oikkyojot (Undivided), part of the BNP-Jamaat led four-party alliance.
Mufti Shahidul Islam founded the first NGO called Al Markazul Islami Bangladesh in 1986. But behind the scenes, he maintained ties with Harkatul Jihad militants. On September 4, 2019, the government banned the activities of two NGOs in the Rohingya camp in Cox’s Bazar. One is that Markazul Al Islami.
Malaysian MLM model link
Details of the instructions given by Atiqullah, who was detained back in the country with the help and planning of Mufti Shahidul. The detainee of Rajshahi said, they started working to organize Huji-B in the country under the guise of a Malaysia-based MLM model business. The company mainly trades in health products in the country.
The statement said that at first they were included as members of the company. Then they started organizational work with that identity. However, they did not provide any specific information on whether the Bangladesh head of the organization was directly involved in the operation.
According to the deposition, the money used to come to them from Dubai through hundi. Although Atiqullah gave instructions from inside the jail, Abdul Aziz Noman, another of the two arrested in Rajshahi, controlled the process of bringing the hundi.
When asked, the RMP commissioner said, “Police are investigating on the basis of their statements. ATU members are also working on the issue.
However, the commissioner hoped that the detention would make it impossible for Huji-B to implement the plan.