Dhaka (AsiaNews) - A court in Dhaka today convicted to death 8 Islamic extremists of Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HuJI) for killing 10 people in bomb blasts during the Pahela Baishakh (Bangla New Year) celebrations at Ramna Batamul in 2001. Among the convicted there is also HuJI chief Mufti Abdul Hannan. The court sentenced other six militants to life imprisonment and fined each one with Tk 50,000 (474 euros).
The Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami ("Islamic Jihad Movement") is an Islamic fundamentalist organization committed to establishing an Islamic rule. It is most active in South Asian countries of Pakistan, Bangladesh and India, since the early 1990s.
On 14 April 2001, during the traditional celebrations of the Bangla New Year several blasts killed 10 people and injured around 50 others. HuJI claimed responsibility for the Ramna Batamul bombings. A militant of the suicide squad died too.
On 6 June 2001 the fundamentalist group blew up a powerful bomb inside The Most Holy Redeemer catholic church in Baniarchar (Khulna diocese, southwestern district of Gopalgonj). The blast killed 10 churchgoers and injured about 50. For this attack several Christian associations are still asking for justice.
HuJI was eve the prime suspect in a scheme to assassinate the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in 2000, and has been blamed for several bombings in 2005. In October that year it was officially banned by the government of Bangladesh.