We’re being accused of militancy to stall Bangladesh’s growth: Islamist leader

March 27th, 2009 - 12:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Sheikh Hasina Dhaka, March 27 (IANS) The spectre of militancy has been “invented and unearthed” in Bangladesh “to stall the country’s development and leave its border insecure”, chief of the country’s largest Islamist party has alleged.
Jamaat-e-Islami chief Matiur Rahman Nizami Thursday said that last month’s mutiny by troopers of the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) was “a plot to undermine the country’s defence by those who do not want the Bangladesh Army (to be) self-reliant”.

Nizami was returning the ‘conspiracy’ charge levelled by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her colleagues who have said the mutiny Feb 25-26 in which 80 people, including army officers, were killed was meant to pitch the army against the border guards and trigger a civil war.

He said Hasina and her Awami League (AL) knew well that “those involved in Islamic movement cannot have link with any acts of sabotage”, The Daily Star said.

The revolt was being probed, but there have been veiled hints of the involvement of Islamists who were supposed to be upset at the government’s move to hold trial for “war crimes” perpetrated during the 1971 freedom movement.

Nizami and some of the top brass of the Jamaat have been accused of personally leading armed militia that looted, raped and killed at the behest of the erstwhile East Pakistan regime.

The Jamaat is part of a four-party alliance led by former prime minister Khaleda Zia that lost last December’s election.

Zia’s Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) Thursday reiterated that it had no objection to the trials of war criminals, provided political considerations were kept out and innocents did not suffer.

“Politics should not influence the trial of the war criminals,” BNP secretary general Khandaker Delwar Hossain said.

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