Ansarullah Bangla Team , an Islamist militant outfit that is believed to be behind the gruesome hacking deaths of three secular and liberal bloggers in recent months have been banned by the government of Bangladesh on Tuesday. The incidents of hacking had evoked massive outrage in Bangladesh and even across the globe.
Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT) is known for its militant and anti-state activities. Early on Tuesday the home ministry of Bangladesh published a gazette notification banning the group. It is the sixth such organisation to be outlawed for militant activities.
“We had taken the decision to ban the outfit earlier this week on the basis of a police report…we are implementing this decision today,” State Minister for Home Affairs Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal told reporters.
The ban comes at a time when three bloggers and writers have been killed in less than three months and Ansarullah Bangla Team is suspected to be behind the killings.
Earlier this month, machete-wielding masked men hacked to death 33 year old Ananta Bijoy Das, a secular blogger, in Sylhet city. Assailants in February had killed 45-year old Avijit Roy, a Bangladeshi-born US national, here while his wife narrowly escaped the attack. A month after Roy’s killing, another blogger Washiqur Rahman was murdered in similar fashion in Dhaka but people in the neighbourhood nabbed two suspected killers from the scene and handed them over to police.
Police has so far arrested several activists of ABT in connection with the murders. Investigators earlier said they suspected that the outfit was closely linked to al-Qaeda. Das’ murder was claimed by Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS). The terror group made the claim in a post on a website ‘justpaste.it’ and ABT tweeted a link to the post.
Ten prominent Bangladeshis, including Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s adviser H T Imam and Vice Chancellor of Dhaka University Professor Arefin Siddique, recently received death threats and police suspected the ABT send the threat letters in the name of al-Qaeda.
Ansarullah Bangla Team is the sixth organisation to be outlawed in Bangladesh with the other five being, Hizb ut-Tahrir, Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), Harkatul Jihad Bangladesh (Huji), Jagrata Muslim Janata of Bangladesh and Shahadat-e Al-Hikma.