Dhaka, Mar 6: The US has designated Harakat ul-Jihad-i-Islami- Bangladesh (HUJI-B) as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation and a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under executive order.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in a statement in Washington, yesterday said the leader of HUJI-B signed the February 1998 fatwa sponsored by Osama bin Laden which declared American civilians as the legitimate targets for attack. Since then, HUJI-B has been implicated in a number of terrorist attacks in Bangladesh and abroad.
This designation means that it is illegal for people in the US or subject to US jurisdiction to provide material support to HUJI-B; requires US financial institutions to freeze assets held by HUJI-B; freezes all property and interests in property of HUJI-B that are in the US, come within the US, or within the control of US people; and enables the US to deny visas to representatives of HUJI-B.
Ms Rice said Bangladesh has been a strong partner of the US in fighting terrorism, and has taken effective action to bring HUJI-B terrorists to justice and to prevent further attacks.
''We applaud Bangladesh's efforts to fight terrorism and are committed to further strengthening this partnership as we redouble our efforts to counter HUJI-B and other terrorist organisations around the globe.
Meanwhile, the Bangladesh government today said it would drastically out down any clandestine activities of the banned extremist outfit Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami (HujI) led by its detained chief Mufti Abdul Hannan.
Additional Secretary to the Home Ministry Sheikh Abdur Rashid told that although there is no open activity by HuJi, but if any secret act of the group is noticed, it would be dealt with a strong hand.
He said intelligence and law-enforcing agencies have been instructed to maintain a close watch on any activities of the Islamic extremists.
''The government reaffirms its commitment against any kind of subversive or terrorist act,'' the Home Ministry official said.
HuJi emerged in 1992 as an extremist Islamic organisation.
In 1996, 41 of its operatives were arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment.
Hannan was arrested on October 1, 2005 and the outfit was banned on October 17 in the same year for its involvement in subversive acts creating law-and-order situation.
On August 2, 2006, Mufti Abdur Rouf, another kingpin of the HuJi, was reined in.
So far, 64 militants of the organisation have been arrested, the official said.