The Harkat-ul-Jihad-al Islami Bangladesh (HuJI-B) was established in 1992, reportedly with assistance from Osama bin Laden’s International Islamic Front (IIF). On April 30, 1992, several of the HuJI-B leaders addressed a press conference at the Jatiya Press Club in capital Dhaka and demanded that Bangladesh be converted into an Islamic State. It draws inspiration from bin Laden and the erstwhile Taliban regime of Afghanistan. At one point of time, the groups issued a slogan, Amra Sobai Hobo Taliban, Bangla Hobe Afghanistan (We will all become Taliban and we will turn Bangladesh into Afghanistan).
The coastal area stretching from the port city of Chittagong south through Cox's Bazaar to the Myanmarese border, notorious for piracy, smuggling and arms running, is the principal area of activity of the HuJI-B. A large number of volunteers had gone to Afghanistan to fight alongside the Mujahideen in the war against the former Soviet Union.
The HuJI-B is also believed to be having links with Pakistan. For instance, the outfit’s ‘operations commander’ and a key suspect in the plot to assassinate the then Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, in July 2000, Mufti Abdul Hannan, after his arrest in October 2005 admitted to have passed out of the Gouhardanga Madrassa in Pakistan. The HuJI-B’s Pakistani link was further established with the recovery of a diary from Hannan’s brother Matiur Rehman, who was also arrested in connection with the assassination plot. Entries in the diary revealed that he was in touch with Pakistan’s diplomatic mission in Bangladesh.
HuJI-B also maintain links with terrorist groups operating in India’s Northeast, including with the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA). The HuJI-B reportedly managed some of ULFA’s camps situated in the Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh along the border with the Indian State of Tripura. HUJI-B was also alleged to be involved in numerous terrorist incidents in India.
Three HuJI-B cadres made a failed attempt on the life of poet Shamsur Rahman at his residence in Dhaka on January 18, 1999.
It was involved in a number of incidents, including the killing of journalist Shamsur Rahman, on July 16, 2000, in Jessore. Later, police arrested 10 HuJI-B activists and sealed its office at a Dhaka suburb, Khilgaon, Interrogations revealed that HuJI-B cadres had planned to kill 28 prominent intellectuals, including National Professor Kabir Choudhury, writer Taslima Nasreen and the Director General of the Islamic Foundation, Maulana Abdul Awal. The Bangladesh government banned it in 2005.
Now in a dramatic twist of events media reports say that:
"Leaders of the banned Islamist outfit Harkatul Jihad al Islami (HuJI) in Bangladesh have floated the Islamic Democratic Party (IDP) ahead of the December elections with permission from the caretaker government."And more stunning news was that:
"Last Friday, HuJI, donning the IDP label, held an Iftar party at the city's Diploma Engineers Institution that was attended by party leaders and guests including Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, editor of Blitz weekly, Human Rights Forum general secretary Sanjeeb Choudhury and Chitta Francis, a representative of the Christian community."What are these resident Zionists of Bangladesh doing?
HuJI official Azizul Huq said Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury and Richard L. Benkin, an American citizen, helped in efforts to portray IDP in a positive light across the globe.Moulana Salam said about Regarding Mufti Hannan that they had expelled him in 1998 and they cannot take responsibility of what he did after that.
In an e-mail to a Daily Star correspondent, Benkin said: "Mr. Huq is correct. Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury and I continuously try to bridge the gulf between religious communities throughout the world and always look for opportunities to promote a positive image of Bangladesh worldwide.
This is a very worrying sign for Bangladesh. Not only that a terrorist outfit is again being given legitimacy, the involvement of people like Richard Benkin and Salah Uddin Shoaib Chowdhury means that they are being supported by a superpower which has a double face in leading a war on terror. This is insane!! I think Bangladesh government should think twice before giving permission to IDP.