Leader ‘Bangla Bhai’ Should be Brought to Justice
To whom it may concern
We the free spirit, secularists,
and humanists Bangalees and other South Asians who belong to Mukto-mona
), a cyber forum that promotes secular humanism throughout the world,
are unified to bring before you the news of an ominous development in
Bangladesh. These are facts
that we culled from the newspapers published from Bangladesh in recent
the last several months (March through May 2004) a group of Muslim
extremists by the name Jagrata Muslim Janata or JMJ (Awakened Muslim
Masses) under the leadership of person who goes by the name “Bangla
Bhai” (Bengali Brother) is terrorizing the masses in the
western and southwestern parts of Bangladesh.
This vigilante group has taken law in their hands as they
identify anti-social elements as per their narrow definition and
mete out vigilante justice. In
most cases, they kill the villagers in gruesome way often mutilating
the victims’ body. In a particular case, one of the villagers was
beaten dead by vigilante outfit and then hanged upside down from a
roadside tree. Another act of cruelty of the gang of Bangla Bhai
came to light last Friday as the three pieces of sliced body of a
villager was dug out of a grave near the Islamist outfit's main camp
police had condoned the barbaric acts of “Bangla Bhai” and JMJ
cadres because they wrongly held the view that this Islamic
vigilante force is hunting down a group of outlaws who belong to
communist party. Starting
from a lowly police constable and going all the way up to Deputy
Inspector General of Police, the law enforcement folks in Bangladesh
have aided “Bangla Bhai” and his vigilante force to carry out
innumerable vicious attacks on rural people.
Often they have targeted the Hindu minorities by labeling
them as the sympathizers of the outlaw communists.
The police not only refused to act on the marauding Islamic
thugs but have given them a glowing encomium to hunt the communists.
The thugs took the advantage of villagers’ aversion towards
outlaw communist cadres but their real goal is to enforce their
dominance and spread ultra Wahhabi doctrine among rural folks.
two members of the parliaments belonging to the ruling party who are
from northwestern Bangladesh had abetted the JMJ cadres as they
ushered in a reins of lawlessness in the affected areas.
pressure from newspapers’ write-up and donor agencies, the
government finally issued the arrest of “Bangla Bhai” but the
arrest order took over two weeks to reach the distance of hardly 100
the government is yet to declare the Islamic outfit an outlaw
coalition partner of the present government is avowed Islamists
belonging to Jamaat-i-Islami party.
They have distanced themselves from JMJ but the truth to the
matter is JMJ is linked to Jamaat.
The JMJ leadership and cadres aspire to make Bangladesh a
truly Islamic country by enforcing Sha’ria laws.
Furthermore, the JMJ men fought with the police on August 14,
2003 in Joypurhat under the banner of Jama'atul Mujahedin Bangladesh
(JMB). After the
government had outlawed JMB outfit, the same group now took the name
Jagrata Muslim Janata.
May 21, 2004 the JMJ cadres staged a boisterous rally in Rajshahi,
the largest town in western Bangladesh.
The police, according to newspaper reports, had escorted the
Islamists to keep them harm’s way from rival groups.
However, hardly 5-6 days later, the same police said that JMJ
men have gone underground and none of the cadres can be traced never
mind the leader “Bangla Bhai.”
The newspapers now report that the JMJ thugs have levied tax
(read protection money) on villagers.
Those who refused to pay the sum are subjected to physical
abuse and property damage.
government of Khaleda Zia and the home mister had essentially given
impunity to “Bangla Bhai” and his cadres for the crimes they
have committed in which many innocent people have lost their lives.
May 28, 2004 several thousand Muslim activists of the International
Khatme Nabuwat Movement tried to storm a minority sect Muslim (Ahmadiya)’s
mosque in at Chittagong during a planned demonstration. The police
under pressure from wide publicity generated by newspapers’ report
were able to halt the aggression but the Islamists had defaced the
mosque as they wrote slanderous remarks on the signboard against
in all, the spate of attacks by Islamists in Bangladesh has risen to a
dizzying height. The
writings are on the wall that this nation of 140 million impoverished
people is on the way to become a hotbed of Islamic radicalism.
Please use your good office to persuade the Prime Minister to
take strong actions against the Islamists.
If she kowtows Islamists to hold her coalition intact, the
consequence could be disastrous and pernicious.
We feel time is running out; therefore, strong actions are needed
to stop the onslaughts of Islamists on innocent people.
The secular fabric of the nation should be preserved at all
costs. Lest we forget, the
Bengalis fought with their lives in 1971 to establish a secular nation,
which they did. Sadly, a
handful of army generals and politicians have worked against the will of
the people to make Bangladesh an Islamic Utopia.
Please lend your helping hand so that their evil design is not
establishment of an Islamic nation in South Asia will be fraught with
fear. History is replete
with examples of what could go wrong if secular demeanor of a nation is
compromised. And we do not
want to see Bangladesh take a retrogressive journey, which the present
government is preparing the nation to undertake.