The government in Bangladesh on Monday banned Islamist radical group Ansarullah Bangla Team for attacking and killing secular writers and bloggers.
The Ministry of Home Affairs on Monday issued a gazette notification banning the group that has been active since 2008. The ministry also requested Ministry of Information to take necessary steps to spread the news.
The decision came after police on May 16 sent a proposal to the Home Ministry seeking the ban for its involvement in recent killings of three bloggers and writers. The group, which follows the ideals of Al-Qaeda, is also blamed for other killings and attacks in the past.
State minister for Home Affairs, Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal, told reporters they took the decision to ban the group on Thursday following the country’s anti-terrorism law after the police investigation found its involvement in terrorism activities.
Since February, three atheist bloggers, including a US citizen, have been killed “for hurting religious sentiments by their writings.”
Last Wednesday, the group allegedly threatened to kill 10 people including the Dhaka University vice chancellor and a top adviser to prime minister Sheikh Hasina.
In the letter to the ministry, police said Ansarullah Bangla team is an “active militant outfit”. It says the group reinforced its influence in 2013 and targeted young students of the country’s leading public and private universities. The group also targets mosques to recruit its members, the report says.
The group’s said chief Mufti Jasim Uddin Rahmani was arrested in 2013 along with 29 other suspected members of the group. In 2013, the group allegedly killed blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider near his home in Dhaka. Five suspected members of the group admitted their involvement in the killing.
Bangladesh had banned other radical groups --Harkatul Jihad Al Islam, Jagroto Muslim Janata Bangladesh, Jumatul Mujahedin Bangladesh, Harkatul Jihad Al Islami Bangladesh and Shahadat Al Hikmat. In 2009, the country also banned Hizbut Tahrir.