Bangladesh Authorities Confiscate Explosives During Arrest of Jamaat-e-Islami Leaders

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LOOKEAST REPORT

Bangladesh authorities arrested nine people, including two leaders of the extremist organization Jamaat-e-Islami, for planning to harm people and disrupt the government on September 29. Bombs, explosives, machetes and jihadist books were confiscated from the house in Dhaka where the arrests were made.

Secretary General of Jamaat-e-Islami Shafiqul Islam Masud producing in a court

Police said the group had been planning violence from the rented apartment on the first floor of a seven-story house for “a long time.” Among those arrested were Dhaka City Jamaat-e-Islami chief Nurul Islam Bulbul and the Secretary General of Jamaat-e-Islami Shafiqul Islam Masud. The arrests took place after police received evidence that the Jamaat activists were preparing to “carry out subversive activities.” Additional arrests have been made with information collected during these arrests in Dhaka.

Bangladesh Supreme Court declared Jamaat’s party registration illegal in 2013. While many hold leadership positions in Jamaat-e-Islami, their arrest was based on evidence, not politics

Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing, Islami Chhatra Shibir, have a long history of radicalism and violence. Jamaat-e-Islami supporters have carried out large-scale, orchestrated attacks on homes, businesses and places of worship, as well as attacking minorities. Many of these attacks on minorities, journalists and bloggers occurred in the wake of the 2014 national elections. In 2013 alone, at least 32 Hindu temples were attacked and vandalized by Jamaat-e-Islami activists.

Media accounts have referred to the people recently arrested as “opposition leaders,” even though the Bangladesh Supreme Court declared Jamaat’s party registration illegal in 2013. While many hold leadership positions in Jamaat-e-Islami, their arrest was based on evidence, not politics. Politically affiliated people are subject to the law as is everyone else.

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