Should an agent of militancy-linked Islamist party be given space in the media?

David N. Robinson

Former Chief Justice of Bangladesh, Surendra Kumar Sinha, who is on run to skip legal charges, was an active member of the pro-Pakistan ‘Peace Committee’ during the war of independence of Bangladesh. This is not any mere blank speculation or rumor. It is a fact which had been admitted by Mr. Sinha on a number of occasions. In fact, he was boasting of being the collaborator of the Pakistani occupation forces. Still this man surprisingly enjoys coverage in the Indian media for reason unknown. This is not the end! Ever since he fled Bangladesh couple of years back, Sinha has been under direct patronization of militancy-linked Jamaat-e-Islami (JI).

The untold facts about Surendra Kumar Sinha:

Being marginalized in politics in Bangladesh since 2012, JIB has been conspiring in grabbing power in that country through undemocratic ways. With such motive in mind, JIB has been spending lavishly in creating strong connections with the United States’ Senate and Congress as well as top policymakers. Barrister Razzaq’s visit is a part of that plan.

Surendra Kumar Sinha, known as a loyalist of Bangladesh Awami League, country’s ruling party came into media’ focal point when he left Bangladesh in 2017 due to illness. Later he resigned from the position of Chief Justice and submitted his resignation letter with the Bangladesh High Commission in Singapore. Later, ruling party leaders claimed, Justice Sinha has left the country to avoid legal consequences as numerous allegations of crime were brought against him. Since then, Justice Sinha has been living silently in USA. Most surprisingly, the US administration accepted his political asylum prayers in less than 24 hours, which has raised eyebrows of many. For past some months, Sinha once again caught attention of a section of Dhaka’s news media as he published his “biography” which is alleged to have been filled with lied and baseless stories. Clearly, this book was published with an ulterior motive of putting the ruling party in Bangladesh into controversy. More precisely, Surendra Kumar Sinha has vendetta against the ruling party. As JIB considered this book as a vital tool for them in grabbing power through undemocratic way, it established connections with the former chief justice. Later a secret verbal agreement between JIB and Sinha were finalized, where the militancy-linked party agreed providing necessary fund in getting Justice Sinha international media exposure.

Sinha has reportedly been providing imaginary information to some YouTube based channels and a section of newspapers against the Bangladesh judiciary as well government’s “frequent interference” into lower and apex courts.

JIB policymakers are considering Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha as their ‘trump card’ and are using him in appraising American policymakers and top jurists on the “current situation” in Bangladesh. Being failed in drawing attention of the US media, JIB also are helping Sinha in contacting various media outlets in India with the agenda of spreading lies about the ruling party in Bangladesh.

A source in the Capitol Hill said the US administration does not consider JIB as a terror outfit. When they were told, JIB demands ‘Allah’s law’ (Sharia rule) and denounces democracy and rights of women, they said, such allegations should be ‘substantially proved’. “We can’t take any decision about any individual or organization by depending on mere rumor. Till now, we don’t consider Jamaat e Islami as a terrorist organization.”

When it was reminded, JIB is antisemitic, the source said, “Antisemitism unfortunately, seems to be a popular opinion in most of the Muslim nations. None of the political parties in that country are above such wrong mindset.”

It further said, “All of them consider Israel as enemy state and denounce the existence of the Jewish state.”

Sinha’s connection with militancy-linked Jamaat:

As we know, in America, Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh (JIB) operatives have their own prominent institutions, which pose as representative bodies of American Muslims. These institutions and their officials have served as vocal supporters of JIB in Pakistan and Bangladesh, helped coordinate protests against the War Crimes Tribunal in Bangladesh, and organized lobbying and PR efforts in D.C.

Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA is an affiliate of JIB. It is registered in Canada and operated by several important figures of Jamaat-e-Islami. ICNA does not hide its JIB affiliations, and is openly identified as a JIB proxy within Islamist circles. ICNA’s educational programs have featured staunch hard-line ideologues, and JIB founder Maududi’s books have been promoted on the website of ICNA’s youth division, Young Muslims. ICNA also is registered in the US. It has an international relief arm named Helping Hand for Relief and Development, a 501(c)(3) which raised an astonishing $40 million in 2016.

Jamaat-e-Islami is violently antisemitic and considers Jews and Christians as enemies of Allah. It also considers Israel as an ‘enemy state’. JIB and ICNA leaders maintain deeper ties with the Palestinian terrorists including Hamas and PLO. In 2016 it had worked against Donald Trump and extended all out support towards Hillary Clinton. It is even rumored that JIB spent significant amount of money behind Hillary’s campaign.

JIB is one of the promoters of Al Qud’s movement, mainly funded by Iran. Since independence of Bangladesh JIB has recruited thousands of Bangladeshi youths and sent them to Lebanon and Palestine for fighting against Israel.

According to Abha Shankar, Senior Intelligence Analyst at the Investigative Project on Terrorism, and Sam Westrop, Director of Islamist Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum, ”Terror ties have dogged American JIB groups for years. One of the two women indicted for their role in a 2015 Islamic State bomb plot lived in an ICNA-run shelter and appeared in ICNA promotional material. And just the other week, on Sept. 6, an ICNA official in Connecticut, Fareed Khan, was indicted by a grand jury after lying to the FBI about his involvement with ICNA and Helping Hand. An FBI affidavit  revealed that Khan had been questioned on suspicion of financing terror in Pakistan through the purchase and sale of medical supplies.”

Surendra Kumar Sinha’s Pakistan connection:

When he was the Chief Justice in Bangladesh, Surendra Kumar Sinha was secretly contacting and even bargaining with a number of condemned convict war criminals with the promise of acquitting them from the capital punishment. He had contacted (even met) the family members of Mir Quashem Ali (an infamous war criminal and funder of JIB).

Who was Mir Quashem Ali?

Mir Quashem Ali (an executed war criminal) was a dubious businessman in Bangladesh with connection with radical Islamic militancy groups and large donors, most from the Arab nations. He was the man who planned launching the first-ever Sharia banking services in South Asia under the name and title Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited. IBBL is a Joint Venture Public Limited Company engaged in commercial banking business based on Islamic Sharia with 63.09 percent foreign shareholding having largest branch network [total 339 Branches] among the private sector Banks in Bangladesh. It was established on the 13th March 1983 as the first Islamic Bank in the South East Asia. A number of Sharia compliance financial institutions in the world conceived the idea from IBBL.

Quashem Ali was also the founder chairman of Diganta Media Corporatin, which owns a private television channel. He also is the founder of Ibn Sina Trust and an Islamist NGO named Rabita al-Alam al-Islami. Quashem Ali was considered to be one of the wealthiest members of Bangladeshi political circle. On 2 November 2014, he was sentenced to death for crimes against humanity committed during the liberation war of Bangladesh in 1971 by the International Crimes Tribunal of Bangladesh.

Ibn Sina Trust (IST) owns 18 organizations including hospitals and diagnostic centers in Bangladesh. Although established as a charitable entity, IST runs on 100 percent profit.

Rabitat al-Alam al-Islami (RAI), which means Muslim World League, is Pan-Islamic NGO based in Mecca, Saudi Arabia that propagates Islamic teachings. The NGO was funded by the Saudi government from its inception in 1962, with that contribution growing to approximately US$13 million by 1980. Because of the Saudi funding, the League is widely known for promoting Wahhabism. The Oxford Dictionary of Islam says that “the group has acted as a mouthpiece for the Saudi Arabian government, which finances it.”

Abdallah Ben Abdel Mohsen At-Turki is the General Secretary. The organization propagates the religion of Islam, encouraging Dawahand conversion of non-Muslims into Islam, and promotes apologetics against criticism of Islam. The organization funds the construction of mosques, financial reliefs for Muslims afflicted by natural disasters, the distribution of copies of the Quran, and political tracts on Muslim minority groups. The League says that they reject all acts of violence and promote dialogue with the people of other cultures, within their understanding of Sharia, but they are no strangers to controversy, having been the subject of several ongoing counterterrorism investigations in the U.S. related to Hamas, Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups.

Rabitat al-Alam al-Islami founded the International Islamic Relief Organization in 1978.

RAI describes its aim saying “(1) Calling on individuals, communities and state entities to abide by the rules of the Sharia (Islamic law); (2) Coordinating the activities of Islamic activists in the world; (3) Enhancing the methods of Islamic propagation in conformity with the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah; (4) Raising the standard and productivity of Muslims in the fields of media, education, Da’wah [inviting people to embrace Islam]; and culture; (5) Organizing seminars and refresher courses; (6) Taking advantage of the Hajj seasons to bring Muslim intellectuals together, and encourage the exchange of views among them; (7) Supervising the activities of the Fiqh Council; (8) Supporting efforts to promote and raise the standard of the Arabic language; (9) Establishing Islamic bureau and centers to further Islamic purposes; (10) Providing people affected by war [read participating in jihad] and natural disasters with emergency relief; and (11) Helping activate the role and the maintenance of Mosques.

Terror connection of RAI:

Rabitat al-Alam al-Islami (RAI), under the garb of NGO is financing radical Islamic terror outfits around the Muslim and non-Muslim nations. In the recent past, it also has stated funding Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army(ARSA), a radical Islamic terror outfit established by the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. Indian newspaper Organizer also detailed the terror connections of ARSA.

In October 2001, Newsweek writer Evan Thomas reported that “Two interrelated global charities directly financed by the Saudi government–the International Islamic Relief Organization and the Muslim World League –have been used by bin Laden to finance his operations. The organizations were left off the list of groups sanctioned by the United States “in order to avoid embarrassing the Saudi government” as hinted by the US officials.

RAI has frequently been a platform for anti-Israeli rhetoric. In 2008, it invited Yusuf al-Qaradawi to speak at their first International Islamic Conference on Dialogue in Mecca in June 2008. During his speech at the conference, he said he would “never sit with Jews on one platform and never hold dialogue with those Jews who have committed injustice against us and support Israel.”

In February 2016, Bangladesh authorities listed the names of Jamaat-connected organization, most of which were funded by Afro-Arab sources.

RAI activities in the West:

Rabitat al-Alam al-Islami has been silently spending millions of dollars behind construction of mosques and Islamic Community Centers in the Western nations, including the US and main goals of these establishments are to spread the venom of radical Islam. Some of the clergymen employed in the mosques and Islamic Community Centers are engaged in radicalization and brainwashing the local Muslims thus turning them into lone wolves. Due to heavy influence of these establishments, during past 10 years, the numbers of hijab and burqa wearing Muslims have greatly increased in the Western societies. Another important agenda of these mosques and Islamic Community Centers are to spread antisemitism.

Donation went into investment:

Mir Quashem Ali was receiving millions of dollars as donation from various Muslim nations, especially Saudi Arabia for RAI. Although such donations were coming for the poor and underprivileged people, Quashem Ali used to transfer a major portion of such funds into his business ventures in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Canada etc and later used to spend a part of the accrued profit towards activities of JIB, which had ultimately turned him as the lifeline of this radical Islamic political party.

Desperation to skip execution:

When Mir Quashem Ali got indicted in several cases for committing crime against humanity, he instructed his trusted man barrister Abdur Razzaq (who has been living in UK on self-exile) to find “any way” of skipping possible execution. At that time, Razzaq hired a lobbyist in the West against the upfront payment of US$ 0.50 million and promised to pay additional US$ 2.5 million once Mir Quashem Ali was released from the prison.

Later, Mir Quashem Ali’s family members succeeded in establishing contact with Surendra Kumar Sinha and offered him huge amount of money in exchange of getting the war criminal acquitted from the capital punishment. There had been several meetings and communications between Mir Quashem Ali’s family and Surendra Kumar Sinha. A large sum of money was handed-over to a representative of Sinha as upfront payment as the former chief justice had promised to acquit Quashem Ali from the capital punishment. At this stage, Sinha had also been contacted by an official of the Pakistani espionage agency Inter Service Intelligence (ISI).

As things did not work as per hope of Mir Quashem Ali, he left an instruction days before execution with his close aides asking to spend “any amount of money” should there be “any scope of toppling down” the current government in Bangladesh.

The case of Surendra Kumar Sinha:

People in Bangladesh had a wrong impression about Surendra Kumar Sinha, former Chief Justice of Bangladesh. They considered him as a virtuous individual and a defender of justice. But in reality, from the very beginning, he was an opportunist and corrupt. He has connections with Pakistani espionage agency since long.

Surendra Kumar Sinha came into the attention of JIB big wigs when he resigned from the post of Chief Justice. Following his resignation, which he submitted with Bangladesh embassy in Singapore, Justice Sinha flew to Canada with the excuse of seeing his ailing daughter. During his stay in Canada, Justice Sinha was contacted by JIB’s assistant secretary general barrister Abdur Razzaq. It was Razzaq who passed the idea of writing a book and offered a handsome amount of cash for this book. As Justice Sinha also was aggrieved with the ruling party in Bangladesh, he readily accepted Razzaq’s offer. Justice Sinha began writing the book from March 2018. Since then, former Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha is under monthly payroll of JIB. This militancy-linked party is seeing Justice Sinha as a “precious tool”.

As none of the renowned publication houses agreed publishing this book, barrister Razzaq decided to launch it from Amazon. Weeks before launching of this book, barrister Razzaq assigned a Bangladeshi living in the United Kingdom for translating it in Bangla and had the plan of getting it secretly printed in England and later sent into Bangladesh.

Barrister Razzaq’s plan was to use this book as an ‘effective tool’ in putting the ruling party in Bangladesh into tremendous embarrassment — at home and abroad. The conspirators were plotting a ‘mass revolt’ thus forcing the government in handing power to an ‘interim’ government with Justice Sinha heading it. They even prepared a list of cabinet for Justice Sinha.

As the book generated substantial controversy in Bangladesh, Razzaq suggested Justice Sinha to travel to the US from Canada and meet some local individuals secretly.

Indian media joins hands with the Pakistani collaborator:

Most surprisingly, a section of Indian media are giving coverage to Surendra Kumar Sinha for reasons best known to them. On December 23, 2018, Kolkata’s leading English newspaper The Telegraph published an article by one Sonia Sarkar. In this article titled – ‘Why Bangladesh is the mirror image of Pakistan’, Sonia Sarkar wrote: “In October 2017, the 67-year-old was ousted by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed for not toeing the government line. Over phone from Paterson, he says, “Here, I am able to speak freely. Nobody is recording my conversation with you.” Indeed, in the US, there is no Directorate General of Forces Intelligence, the military intelligence agency of Bangladesh, tapping phone calls or sniffing around one’s inbox.”

What a shame! How a respectable newspaper like The Telegraph had allowed publishing this article which is filled with lies? Surendra Kumar Sinha was not “ousted” by the Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Instead, this former chief justice had left the country with the excuse of physical illness and later had submitted resignation with the Bangladesh embassy in Singapore. To my knowledge, in Bangladesh, the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) has conducted an investigation on the allegations brought against this man and a charge sheet is almost at the final stage.

In another paragraph of the article, Sonia Sarkar wrote: “Sinha is not a great fan of Mujibur Rahman, who is commonly referred to as Bangabandu or Mujib. According to him, the seeds of autocracy in Bangladesh were sown by him in the form of the Fourth Amendment. He also tells me how Mujib, besides diluting Article 116, also altered Article 11. “In its original form, it stated that Bangladesh as a republic would ensure democratic values, freedom and dignity of human person, and elections at all state affairs. But the Fourth Amendment removed the election system from this guideline, thus abolishing democratic philosophy from the Constitution.””

Well, how a Pakistani collaborator like Surendra Kumar Sinha can see good things in Sheikh Mujibur Rahman? What Sinha has said about Sheikh Mujib is just the echo of the opinion of his Pakistani masters.

Surendra Kumar Sinha is not the man who should be trusted or accorded space in the Indian or international media. He is clearly serving the purpose of Pakistan. He also is serving the purpose of militancy-linked Jamaat-e-Islami.

Will the Indian media please take note of these points?

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