Bangladesh’s two former ministers, who aided banned extremist group Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HuJI) in its botched attempt to kill Premier Sheikh Hasina in 2004, also helped the outfit procure arms for use against India, a court was told here.

Lutfozzaman Babar and Abdus Salam Pintu, ministers in the former Khaleda Zia-led BNP government had assisted HuJI in its bid to kill Ms. Hasina in 2004, Abdul Kahar Akand, investigation officer in the grenade attack cases told a Dhaka court.

Mr. Akand said they had trained many youths, mainly madrassa students, how to operate firearms and bombs.

“Most of their recruits came from Pakistan-(occupied) Kashmir and Bangladesh... They had also mobilised funds, arms and ammunition for insurgents in Kashmir of India,” he was quoted as saying by the Daily Star on Wednesday.

The court granted Mr. Akand’s appeal seeking fresh remand for HuJI founder Sheikh Abdus Salam.

Mr. Akand said HuJI had planned to eliminate Ms. Hasina and other Awami League leaders as their government in its 1996-2001 tenure was an “obstacle” in its campaign of “recruiting and training youths as its operatives, and procurement of firearms for fellow militants fighting in India and Afghanistan.”

When the League lost power in 2001, HuJI got support from Babar and Pintu through Pintu’s brother and HuJI leader Moulana Tajuddin, Mr. Akand said in his remand prayer.

Mr. Akand said Babar and Pintu, then state minister for home and deputy minister for education, had helped Tajuddin flee Bangladesh for Pakistan. Tajuddin had supplied the grenades used in the 2004 blasts that killed 23 League leaders and workers.

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