Banned Islamist group Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) had hired Indian terrorists to assassinate top Bangladeshi leaders, including Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her BNP rival Khaleda Zia, ahead of the parliamentary polls last year, according to sources in the elite security force RAB.
Islamist militant outfits, including JMB and Harkatul Jihad Islami (HuJI), have carried out a series of terrorist attacks to establish a sharia-based Islamic state, leading to the death of hundreds of people in the last few years.
The JMB had planned to assassinate Awami League leader Hasina and her arch rival Zia of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party in a bid to foil the landmark December parliamentary polls, which brought the Hasina-led Grand Alliance back to power, according to Rapid Action Battalion sources.
The sources, quoting JMB activist Zahidul Islam Sumon alias "Boma" Mizan, said about dozen JMB operatives from India were hired to execute the assassinations.
Mizan is presently in the custody of the RAB, which arrested him from Mirpur in the capital on May 14. He admitted that JMB has a network in West Bengal, India, The Daily Star said on Thursday.
"Before the national elections (December 29 in Bangladesh) 10 Indian JMB members visited Bangladesh in two groups" to execute the plan to foil the ninth national election last year, the Bangladeshi newspaper quoted security sources as saying. They had also planned to kill other high-profile candidates as part of their plan, he revealed. However, the Indians left Bangladesh in the beginning of February after they failed to execute the plan, Mizan told the RAB.