In recent days, Islamist militancy groups have become extremely operative in the country. Just four days back, another notorious Islamist militancy group named Hizb Ut Towhid [HuT] activists were captured while distributing leaflets against secular newspapers and educational institutions.

HuT considers Jews and Christians as ‘Enemies of God’ and it categorically preaches killing of Jews and Christians as part of ‘Holy War’. Bangladeshi government and intelligence agencies are well aware of the activities of Hizb Ut Towhid. But, there is strange silence from the government and the agencies in taking any action against this dangerous group. Surely, this is a sign of government’s softer attitude towards Islamists and militants.

However in past few days, at least three extremely notorious Indian Islamist terrorists were captured in Bangladesh by the local law enforcing agencies. They had been living in Bangladesh for years with false names and were teaching in Madrassas.

The latest arrest took place on July 21, 2009. The Detective Branch in Bangladesh arrested Maulana Mohammed Monsur Ali, also known as Habibullah, suspected of being an organizer of the Bangladesh unit of the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba, at Dakkhin Khan in Dhaka, three days after the arrest of the most wanted Indian militant Mufti Sheikh Obaidullah.

Habibullah had entered Bangladesh through the Bagdah border of India in 1995 to escape arrest in India few months before his disciple, Mufti Obaidullah, entered Bangladesh.

Asked how he had crossed the border into Bangladesh, Monirul, quoting Habibullah, said Habibullah had paid Rs. 100 for the job.

‘If you pay me Rs 25, I will keep an eye closed and when you cross the border, the other eye can see you and I may capture you. But if you pay me Rs 100, I will keep both the eyes closed and you can do whatever you want,’ Monirul quoted Habibullah as saying what the border guards had told him.

So far Bangladeshi police and intelligence agencies have apprehended five Islamist militants who came from India and were giving Jihadist training and orientation to Bangladeshi Madrassa students for years.

Habibullah used to keep contact with at least five top leaders of the banned Islamist militant outfit Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami [HuJI] Bangladesh, and Indian militants reportedly staying in Bangladesh.

During his 14-year stay in Bangladesh, he had taught in several madrassas changing his job to move from one place to another, as part of a move to organize the Bangladeshi unit of the Kashmir-based Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Habibullah graduated from Bansha Dinabandhu College in 1977.

He later took up a job in the Indian railway where he came in touch with some religious teachers or maulanas. The maulanas took him to Deoband Madrassah, one of the largest in the world located in Uttar Pradesh in India where he studied Arabic Qaida in 1984, then went to Pakistan and studied Dawa Hadith in Islamabad in 1991.

He fought in the Afghan war 25 times; he was trained in handling modern firearms and started making bombs for use in the Afghan war.

Habibullah returned to India after the Afghan war and met some others who had also returned from the Afghan war. They together decided to organize militants in different Indian provinces to carry out ‘jihad’ against the orthodox Hindus to take revenge on the torture of Muslims.

He also held a secret meeting with to mobilize people for ‘jihad,’ and trained scores of young people in handling firearms and sent them to the Kashmir war on behalf of the Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Detective Branch deputy commissioner Monirul Islam provided the bits of information about him at a briefing.

Monirul said, ‘Habibullah knows Bangladesh better than Mufti Obaidullah does as Habibullah had entered Bangladesh before Obaidullah did. Habibullah has been in touch with at least five Harkat-ul-Jihad leaders and he had for long worked to mobilize people for militant organizations. Habibullah maintained relations with international militant Khurram.’

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