Corrupt policemen facilitated JMB men snatching

Faisal Rahim

The nation has become the hapless third party witness to dangerous games one after another when the government and the opposition parties are fighting a war in the air centering the JMB issue following the dramatic snatching of three JMB men on Sunday last from a spot at Trishal when they were being taken by police men to the Mymensingh court in a prison van.

The JMB militants – death row convicts Salahuddin alias Salehin, Rakib alias Hafez Mahmud and life term convict Mizan alias Boma Mizan – were snatched from the prison van escorted by only three policemen leaving behind one of them killed and two others seriously injured.

Meanwhile, five hours into the ambush, police recaptured Rakib from Sakhipur upazila of Tangail. The JMB man was later killed in a reported “shootout” with police just 14 hours after his recapture once again raising another question about the role of police and extra-judicial custodial killing of people by law enforcers.
Parliament on Tuesday ignoring the issue saw virulent discussions on how to characterized BNP and Jamaat as a cohort of JMB (Jamiatul Mujahedeen, Bangladesh) outfits and al-Qaeda in the country instead of discussing government failure to protect high value convicts.

Parliament ignored “crossfire”
People had expected to hear parliament debating on how the death row convicts could escape from police custody and why there was not enough police protection to the prison van and intelligence surveillance to make sure the safety of the movement of the high value convicts to the court. The debate should have focused on government failure to run police as an effective force and its equal failure to run the jails maintaining high security of the inmates. The snatching of the dreaded convicts on the highway in a filmy sequence showed the total breakdown of the disciplined force and a total chaos in the jail administration.
Parliament however, did not raise a single question to those failures to demand an explanation from the government and instead raised stormy voices demanding probe into whether BNP-Jamaat has any connection with the snatching and even Begum Khaleda Zia has any hand in it.
The discussants said BNP, Jamaat and JMB are similar terrorist organizations and they want to turn Bangladesh into a Talaban state. The discussants included Awami League senior leader PM’s cousin Sheikh Fazlul Karim Salem, Tofail Ahmed and Motiya Chowdhury. Some of them once again demanded banning of Jamaat.
They said the government has almost destroyed the Islamist terrorist from the country but the recent message of al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri was issued at this moment to rejuvenate the terrorists into action again.
Some of them also questioned the meeting of some US embassy officials with senior Hifajat leaders at Hathazari last week wondering why they had met them, what were their intentions. They alleged that Zawahiri had lived three months in Bangladesh during the BNP-Jamaat government suggesting that those parties have closer links with al-Qaeda outfits.
Meanwhile question has arisen as to why the government is so eager to depict Bangladesh as an Islamist terrorist prone nation apparently targeting the USA to take position against the Islamic political parties in the country. But the country is known as a moderate Muslim nation having no extremely religious or fundamental outlook in the peace loving people. But it appears that certain forces are at work to destroy the peace and stability of the nation to open a fight to divide it on religious line and become the darling of the west and a neighbour to continue it’s undemocratic rule. Many people also tend to believe that not only al-Zawaheri’s message was purportedly circulated by the same vested group, the JMB episode may be another event focused on depicting Bangladesh as an extremist infested nation.

Inadequate security
News reports say the JMB men implemented a foolproof plan while police were quite ineffective and may be neutralized. Earlier news reports quoting a Mymensingh police official say that Kashimpur jail authorities even did not inform them asking security to the movement of the prison van while moving over its area of jurisdiction. They again claimed on Wednesday that Mymensingh police had assigned seven police men to reinforce the escort but three of them were absent. Moreover at the time of the incident, only three jail police were present. The police administration suspended three police men last week for failing to attend duty. It appears that it may be an eye-wash to divert people attention from police failure. Otherwise people tend to believe that the state minister for Home Affairs and senior police officials should have resigned taking responsibility of the failure.
An inclusive report in an English-language daily on February 26 has meanwhile given a terrible picture of a highly corrupt police administration and demoralized jail administration to suggest a total collapse of law and order inside the red brick buildings.
Describing how the background to the snatching was meticulously developed, and quoting a government investigation sources the report said, the three convicts had asked a favour of the three policemen on the day for taking some snacks on the roadside at Trishal’s Signboard area.
Police wanted Tk 3,000 from the JMB men. Moreover the convicts had communicated with the snatchers over a cell-phone from the prison van. The JMB militants had maintained contacts with each other using mobile phones inside the prison. Most JMB convicts are in four prisons in Kashimpur of Gazipur where use of cell-phones is rampant.
The prison authorities had set up cell-phone jammer equipment at the jails to prevent use of mobile phones. But it was often ineffective to facilitate the use of cell-phones by the JMB militants and high-profile politicians. Some jail officials, prison guards and intelligence personnel deployed in jails are involved in this, a prison guard at the High Security Prison where Rakib was an inmate told the investigators.

What is JMB’s funding source?
The government has sealed all funding sources of JMB over the past several years and banks, NGO were monitored and all of their transactions were also stopped to and from sources suspected of having link to funding Islamic activities. Yet the JMB men had organized a dramatic event for which they had bought two microbuses and weapons. US intelligence sources pointed finger across Bangladesh boarder as the safe heaven of the JMB men. It may also receive the funding from hitherto unidentified areas, many people tend to believe urging the government to look beyond identified horizon.

Cell-phone provided by police
“About 200 cell-phones are used in the prison. One can earn Tk 5,000 to Tk 10,000 just by proving a cell-phone to the inmates,” he said. So it appears that the snatching was pre-planned and another report said they had at least 21 more dreaded militants on the snatching list.
It demonstrated a total chaos in jail administration. But the government appears to hide the failure of the administration to protect high value JMB convicts in transferring to the court.
The major opposition BNP has questioned how the death row convict can die in police shoot outs. Party secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islaam accused the government of the extra-judicial killing of a convict while deploring its failure to keep the two others in custody. He also asked why the death row convict was taken in the midnight raids that need a thorough investigation. He was supposed to be hanged and not killed in firing.
The National Human Rights Commission Chairman Prof Mizanur Rahman last week said in fact the country’s judiciary could become redundant if extra-judicial killings continued. He said extra-judicial killings cannot be allowed in a civilised society under any circumstances. In the name of imaginary incidents of crossfire and encounters, these killings and disappearances are against the rule of law and human rights.

Source: Weekly Holiday


  1. After politicising the police, corrupted as it has been what else can one expect from this government that has already been abandoned by the “JONOGON” ?

  2. This is the “govt of the thugs for the thugs by the thugs”. So, why blame anyone else for the incident. No wonder none of the thugs sitting in the parliament raised any questions about these extra judicial killings by the “law enforcement agencies”.


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