The atrocious acts of radical Islamic and pro-Caliphate group Hefazat-e-Islam (HeI), which the people of Bangladesh has witnessed with utter dismay during the golden jubilee celebration of its independence should not be spared and those perpetrators of crime deserve exemplary punishment. While HeI and their cohorts from Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), Jamaat-e-Islami, Hizbut Tahrir and other radical Islamic militancy groups were continuing extreme notoriety throughout the country, members of the cyber forces of these religious extremist groups were spreading statements through social media and video sharing sites giving instigations of waging jihad. Writes Damsana Ranadhiran
Sheikh Hasina pledges stern action
On April 4, 2021, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina told the parliament that her government would not tolerate non-Islamic activities like arson attacks and vandalism in the name of Islam and vowed to take legal actions against those involved in such activities.
“I can only tell that legal action will be taken against those responsible for such misdeeds” she said.
Mentioning that the Hefazat started mayhem when the nation was set to celebrate the golden jubilee of the country’s independence from March 17 to 26, she said, “Did Hefazat do it alone? The BNP-Jamaat alliance is behind it.”
The Prime Minister said it is sure that all the Hefazat men were not involved in the mayhem.
Hefazat men spread a rumour relating to killing of people in the Baitul Mukarram Mosque on March 26 and went on destruction from March 26 to March 31, she added.
The premier said BNP and Jamaat gave separate messages supporting the Hefazat on March 27 and 28 which is part of the conspiracy against the state.
After calling hartal, the Hefazat, without any provocation, had carried out vandalism across the country, attacking Awami League (AL) offices, houses of AL leaders and activists and government offices.
Mentioning that Hefazat men even damaged the holy Quran, Sheikh Hasina questioned what kind of ‘Muslim’ they are.
The Prime Minister said the BNP and Jamaat have no political ideology as they supported Hefazat in protest against the arrival of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to attend the golden jubilee celebration of independence but they welcomed Midi when he reached Bangladesh.
The Hefazat has been continuing destruction in the name of Islam while the BNP and Jamaat are giving them patronage.
Referring to Hefazat’s joint secretary general Mamunul Haque’s stay with a woman at a private resort at Sonargaon in Narayanganj (on Saturday), she said that he went to a resort with a woman for entertainment after conducting the mayhem.
She added that the Hefazat leader first introduced the woman with whom he was held as his wife and later he told his real wife (over phone that was leaked last night) that he had to introduce the woman as wife due to the situation arose at that time.
She called upon the Hefazat men to realize what kind of leadership they have.
Bangladesh PM calls upon NSI to free country from terrorism
Inaugurating the newly constructed headquarters of the National Security Intelligence (NSI), Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina asked the NSI personnel to work sincerely for making the country free from terrorism, militancy, drug and corruption.
“I want each employee of NSI to discharge their duties with sincerity and honesty being imbued with patriotism,” she said.
She also called upon the intelligence agency to save the people following the government’s zero tolerance strategy against the social menaces like militancy.
Referring to the government’s stance against militancy, terrorism, drug and corruption, Sheikh Hasina said NSI will have to do whatever is required to protect the people’s life, livelihood, properties and interest as well as ensure peace in society.
A particular case that misses attention
While law enforcement and intelligence agencies in Bangladesh are tirelessly working in combating terrorism, militancy and criminal activities, a particular case of a cyber jihadist possibly is missing due attention. According to media reports, while countrywide mayhem of Hefazat-e-Islam men joined by members of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), Jamaat-e-Islami, Hizbut Tahrir and other anti-Bangladesh forces were continuing, several culprits were seen giving instigation to such heinous crime by posting anti-Modi and antigovernmental video statements on social media as well as video-sharing platforms, clearly with the ulterior agenda of spreading the notoriety further.
There had also been instigations from India’s West Bengal, as Mamata Banerjee and her comrades in Trinamool Congress as well as the leftist hooligans were making frantic bids of spreading the anti-Modi and anti-Bangladesh anarchism throughout the country. Trinamool Congress and Hizbul Mujahedin linked individuals in Bangladesh were also seen calling upon people to wage jihad against Modi’s visit.
Shahana Rashid, a terror funder and money launderer
According to newspaper reports in Bangladesh and abroad, a woman named Shahana Rashid, who is allegedly a terror-funder, money launderer, crime godmother with connections with militancy groups in West Bengal and Bangladesh was posting video statements on Facebook giving instigations of spreading terrorism in the name of anti-Modi “protests” throughout Bangladesh. Shahana’s connections with militants in West Bengal started several years ago, when she visited India and held secret meetings with suspicious individuals in Kolkata. Her son, Sajal Mahmud Ony abducted an Indian national named Sanjib Saha in 2012 and demanded ransom after brutally torturing him inside a floor at their house in Dhaka’s Uttara area. Ony also has been openly publishing posts on Facebook in favor of Pakistan.
It was also reported in the media that Shahana and her Jamaat-e-Islami cohorts had pilled huge stock of flammable chemicals and explosive gel [also may be gun powder] in a secret warehouse at her house.
She also has been allegedly funding militancy groups in Malaysia while her youngest son Shamol Mahmood Anjan is a student of LimKokWing University, which is branded as breeding ground of jihadists and racists. Furthermore, specific allegations of money laundering against Shahana is currently under investigation by authorities concerned of Bangladesh Bank and National Board of Revenue.
Shahana’s son Shamol involved in cybercrime
Moreover, Shahana’s youngest son Shamol Mahmood (Anjan) is allegedly running several fake accounts on Facebook and Instagram, which he uses for blackmailing and maligning various individuals. Blitz already has obtained specific evidences of these fake IDs. Moreover, Anjan is accused of blackmailing females by making them victims of his false romantic trap. We have evidence of such activities as well.
Some newspaper reports claimed, Shahana Rashid, who hails from Barisal district is also connected to a sacked military officer named Shahid Uddin Khan – a wanted person by Interpol on allegation of terror-funding, money laundering and connections with Islamic State. According to reports in the international media, Shahid Uddin Khan had sent substantial amount of fund to ISIS men in Sri Lanka prior to Eastern Sunday bombing attacks. British authorities did not take any action against this notorious individual, although he has been continuing terrorist activities, including giving instigations of staging coup against the Bangladesh government – through social media and YouTube. Despite the fact that such notoriety should have resulted in legal actions and deportation of Shahid Uddin Khan, London so far has been maintaining surprising silence. Khan’s notoriety was also exposed by prestigious British newspaper The Sunday Times in 2019. Indian media had also published reports about investigation into the case of Khan’s connections with Dawood Ibrahim and his infamous D Company.
Shahana’s criminal son abducted an Indian national
According to credible media reports, Shahana’s son Sajal Mahmud Ony had abducted Indian national Sanjib Saha at the instruction of Pakistani ISI, while he also was assigned of carrying out attacks on Indian diplomats and individuals in Dhaka. Ony is also connected to Myanmar-based Yaba trafficking and distribution racket under the disguise of “rehab” member. Several years ago, Ony had published his photograph holding a foreign-made short weapon, possibly with the motive of drawing attention of prospective buyers. Forensic of his computers and mobile phones will prove these criminal actions.
Although series of reports exposing the criminal activities of Shahana Rashid and her sons Sajal Mahmud (Ony) and Shamol Mahmood (Anjan) have been published in Bangladeshi and international media, surprisingly the matter is yet to be investigated by the law enforcement agencies in Bangladesh. Computers and mobile phones of this crime racket have not been confiscated for forensic to identify further details on their criminal activities, including terror financing and money laundering.
Damsana Ranadhiran is a retired intelligence official