Bangladesh's two former ministers, who aided banned extremist group the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al Islami in its botched attempt to kill Premier Sheikh Hasina in 2004, also helped the outfit procure arms for use against India, a Dhaka court was told.
Lutfozzaman Babar and Abdus Salam Pintu, ministers in the former Khaleda Zia-led Bangladesh Nnationalist Party government had assisted Huji in its bid to kill Hasina in 2004, Abdul Kahar Akand, investigation officer in the grenade attack cases told a Dhaka court.
Akand 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," he was quoted as saying by the Daily Star today.
The court granted Akand's appeal seeking fresh remand for Huji founder Sheikh Abdus Salam.
Akand said HuJI had planned to eliminate Hasina and other Awami League leaders, as their government in its 1996-2001 tenure was an "obstacle" in its campaign of "recruiting and training youths as its operatives, and procurement of firearms for fellow militants fighting in India and Afghanistan".
When Awami League lost power in 2001, HuJI got support from Babar and Pintu through Pintu's brother and Huji leader Moulana Tajuddin, Akand said in his remand prayer.Akand said Babar and Pintu, then state minister for home and deputy minister for education, had helped Tajuddin flee Bangladesh for Pakistan. Tajuddin had supplied the grenades used in the 2004 blasts that killed 23 AL leaders and workers.