Huji Terror in region on rise, demands extortion from Private University

Source- Weekly Blitz | Date- October 15, 2011

Outlawed Islamist militancy group Harkat Ul Jihad al Islami [HuJI] has demanded TK. 400 million as extortion from Asha University, which is located at Shyamoli area of Dhaka, Bangladesh. The notorious group has set October 17 as deadline for payment of the demanded money and threatened to blow-up the university campus, if authorities of Asha University fail to comply with such demand.

In a letter sent by courier service to the management of the university, two men named Masud and Shohag demanded TK. 400 million as extortion. They [Masud and Shohag] introduced themselves being members of Harkat Ul Jihad al Islami [HuJI], and claimed to have fought in Afghan war for 3 years. They also elaborated the their 95 murder cases in the letter and warned the university authorities to refrain from reporting the issue to law enforcing or intelligence agencies.

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The HUJI letter said, in recent times, a large number of their “party comrades” are arrested and it [HUJI] needs fund to release them from prisons. The matter has already been reported with Mohammedpur Police Station and investigation is continuing to identify the culprits.

Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami or Ḥarkat al-Jihād al-Islāmiyah, meaning “Islamic Struggle Movement”, [HuJI] is an Islamic terrorist outfit most active in South Asian countries of Pakistan, Bangladesh and India since the early 1990s. It was banned in Bangladesh in 2005 by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party led coalitions government. The operational commander of HuJI, Ilyas Kashmiri, was reportedly killed in a U.S. Predator drone strike in South Waziristan on June 4, 2011.He was linked to the February 13, 2010 bombing of a German bakery in Pune, India. A statement was released soon after the attack which claimed to be from Kashmiri; it threatened other cities and major sporting events in India.

HuJI, along with other jehadi groups such as Lashkar-e-Toiba [LeT], HuM and Jaish-e-Mohammed [JeM] emerged from the same source, and therefore had similar motivations and goals. However, HuJI and HuM were both strongly backed by the Taliban, and therefore the group professed Taliban-style fundamentalist Islam. HuJI espoused a Pan-Islamic ideology, but it believed in violent means to liberate Kashmir and make it a part of Pakistan.

The group recruited some of its cadres from the Deobandi madrassas of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province; however the ethnic composition changed when the recruitment also began from Pak occupied Kashmir, Punjab and Karachi. Most of the inductions were done by the roaming jihadist cells, who lured the teenagers religious sermons imbued with the spirit of jihad, from where the process of induction began. Unlike LeT, HuJI did not require its cadres to go through religious education; rather the recruits proceeded to military training in the camps located in Afghanistan and Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

After the group established its Bangladesh wing, the operations in Bangladesh increased, with the major source of recruitment coming from the Islamic madrassas. The training for these recruits was given in the hilly areas of Chittagong and Cox’s Bazaar.

Later on, members of the group made an attempt on the life of poet Shamsur Rahman, the liberal poet in January 1999. Committed to establishing an Islamic rule, HuJI was the prime suspect in a scheme to assassinate the Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina in the year 2000, and has been blamed for a number of bombings in 2005. In October 2005, it was officially banned by the government of Bangladesh.

In April 2006, the state police Special Task Force in India uncovered a plot hatched by six HuJI terrorists, including the mastermind behind the 2006 Varanasi bombings, involving the destruction of two Hindu temples in the Indian city of Varanasi. Maps of their plans were recovered during their arrest. Pakistani passports had been in the possession of the arrested. Apparently Huji has claimed the responsibility for the blasts in New Delhi high court which has claimed lives of 10 and has injured around 60.

Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami has claimed responsibility for the 2011 Delhi bombing. However, this has not been confirmed by the National Investigation Agency. 14 people were killed and 94 people were injured in the bomb blast. Police have released two sketches of the suspects.

Several governments have proscribed HuJI as a terrorist organization. In October 2005, Bangladesh banned the militant group. On August 6, 2010 the United States and the United Nations designated Harakat-ul Jihad al-Islami as a foreign terror group and blacklisted its commander Ilyas Kashmiri. State Department counterterrorism coordinator Daniel Benjamin asserted that the actions taken demonstrated the global community’s resolve to counter the group’s threat. “The linkages between HUJI and Al-Qaeda are clear, and today’s designations convey the operational relationship between these organizations,” Benjamin said.

Militant attacks claimed by or attributed to HuJI:

 

Date                        Country                           Description

1999                        Bangladesh                      Failed attempt to assassinate the humanist poet Shamsur Rahman

2000                        Bangladesh                    Alleged failed scheme to assassinate the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina

2001 April 14      Bangladesh                     Pahela Baishakh attack on Ramna Batamul in Dhaka, Bangladesh

2003                      India                                   Role in assassination of the former Gujarat Home Minister Haren Pandya in India

2002 January     India                                 Terror attack near the American Centre in Kolkata, India, executed in collaboration with the Dawood-linked mafioso Aftab Ansari

2005 June            India                                  Bombing of the Delhi-Patna Shramjeevi Express at Jaunpur

2005                     India                                    Suicide bombing of the headquarters of the Andhra Pradesh Police’s Counter-terrorism Special Task Force. A Bangladeshi national,  Mohatasin Bilal, had carried out the bombing

March 2006        Varanasi, India             Bombing of the Sankat Mochan Temple, which was traced to HuJI’s Bangladesh-based cells

August 25, 2007 Hyderabad, India      Hyderabad bombings [suspected, but no evidence revealed]

May 13, 2008    Jaipur, India                   Jaipur bombings [suspected evidence pending]

July 25, 2008   Bangalore, India            Bangalore serial blasts [suspected; evidence pending].

July 26, 2008   Ahmadabad, India        Ahmadabad serial blasts [suspected; evidence pending].

September 13, 2008     Delhi, India       Delhi serial blasts [suspected; evidence pending].

September 20, 2008      Islamabad, Pakistan      Marriott Hotel bombing [claimed by HuJI; evidence pending]

October 1, 2008 Agartala, Tripura, India            Agartala bombings [HuJI suspected; evidence pending].

September 7, 2011       New Delhi, India     Delhi bombings [claimed by HuJI; evidence pending]

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