>A former Bangladeshi minister has been jailed for 31 years and six months today for aiding Islamic militants responsible for nationwide terror campaign to impose Sharia law.
Aminul Huq, telecommunications minister in the emergency-ruled country’s most recent elected government, and 24 others were convicted and sentenced by a court in the northwestern town of Rajshahi in the first-ever judgment of a case for patronising Islamist militants.
They were found guilty of aiding and abetting the militants of Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) in extorting and torturing people in Bagmara upazila of the district in 2004.
The JMB, that banged to the fore by blating 400 bombs in all but one of the impoverished country’s 64 districts on August 17, 2005, has been believed to be the brainchild of some ministers on the cabinet of the immediate past elected government headed by Bangladesh Nationalist Party.
The militants said their campaign was aimed at forcing Bangladesh to replace its Muslim but secular legal system, which dates back to the British colonial period, with traditional Islamic law.
The government, a coalition of four political parties two of which are religion-based, had denied that senior members of the government had turned a blind eye to the activities of the extremists for political gain.
Top six leaders of the militant outfit, Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), were executed on March 31 for murdering two judges.
Since the open rise of Bangla Bhai-led militant organisation Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) in northern Rajshahi in 2004, The Daily Star in its continuous investigation in the past few years has revealed Aminul’s role from the forefront as one of the key patrons of the militants.
Aminul, also former lawmaker of Rjshahi-1 constituency, and Ruhul Kuddus Talukder Dulu, former lawmaker of Natore-2 and former deputy minister for land, jointly patronised the JMB in the region.