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HuJI tried to mobilise foreign funds setting up charity

By Anisur Rahman in Dhaka
July 19, 2009 21:37 IST
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Bangladesh based Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami, a militant outfit responsible for a series of terror attacks in the country and India was trying to mobilise foreign funds by setting up a charity to carry out subversive activities under its garb.

HuJI was trying to mobilise foreign funds setting a charity but intelligence vigils upset their plan while its detained chief Mufty Abdul Hannan was now in jail.

"The outfit set up a charity called Faruqi Welfare Foundation last year to use it as a cover for receiving funds from abroad," the Daily Star reported on Sunday quoting an unidentified intelligence source.

A security official confirmed the report but said the so-called "foundation", however, could not be in operation as it came under intelligence watch after obtaining the certificate from the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies and Firms on June 29 that year and its chairman Sheikh Abdus Salam was also arrested for his suspected militant links.

HuJI operates in close cooperation with Lashkar-e-Tayiba which has been responsible for blasts on a Mumbai train and November 26 terror attacks in the city.

HuJI operatives are also wanted for Sharamjeevi train blasts. "According to the papers submitted to the NGO Affairs Bureau, the objectives of the outfit were to build mosques, madrassa, run orphanages and Islamic research centres and facilitate religious education," the official said.

Police in June 2008 formally pressed charges against 21 HuJI operatives and an ex-junior minister for a grenade attack on Prime Minister and Awami League chief Sheikh Hasina on August 21, 2004 that had left 24 people dead.

Hasina was the opposition leader at that time. The official said HuJI leaders were desperate for funds as they needed the money to strengthen their network and intensify the recruitment campaign for 'jihad' against the backdrop of anti-militant campaigns.

The United States earlier last year designated HuJI as a "foreign terrorist organisation" and "specially designated global terrorist" while the militant group is believed to have carried out a series of attacks in the country including the August 21, 2004 grenade attack on incumbent Prime Minist er and the then opposition leader Sheikh Hasina.

A Dhaka court earlier this year indicted HuJI chief Mufty Abdul Hannan and 13 others for the 2001 bomb attacks on Bengali New Year revellers at Dhaka's Ramna Batmul killing 12 people.

The group allegedly carried out several other blasts including an attack on a Communist Party rally in 2005 claiming five lives and Bangladeshi born former British envoy in Dhaka Anwar Chowdhury, who too escaped the attempt sustaining minor injuries.

"The militant groups are now literally on the run because of the stringent vigil of police and other law enforcement and intelligence agencies," Inspector General of Police Nur Mohammad told PTI.

Hannan and former deputy minister Abdus Salam Pintu of former prime minister Khaleda Zia's Bangladesh Nationalist Party-led government are now also being tried along with several other suspected militants for the attempt on life on Hasina, who narrowly escaped the attack.

The outlawed HuJI activists arrested earlier said Hasina was the main target of their attack but their attempt failed because of "too much hurry" by the assailants during the attack on an Awami League rally in front of the party's central office at downtown Dhaka's Bangabandhu Avenue.

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Anisur Rahman in Dhaka
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