Women were forced into militancy by their extremist husbands: Police

The women militants in custody following surrender or arrest were mostly pushed into militancy by their husbands, police say.

Staff Correspondentbdnews24.com
Published : 27 Dec 2016, 12:09 PM
Updated : 28 Dec 2016, 10:44 AM

Monirul Islam, who heads police's counter-terrorism unit, made the claim three days after a raid on a hideout at Ashkona led to the surrender of two women and their children, and the death of another who detonated a suicide vest.         

"There is not one female in the Neo-Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh who became a militant due to their own will," he told reporters on Tuesday.

"We have learned this from the women we questioned in various cases and also from evidence collected during our operations.

"They take up militancy due to their husbands and also their social circumstances."

Three female members of the neo-JMB were arrested at Tangail's Kalihati in anti-terror raids launched in July following the deadly siege of a Gulshan restaurant and the bomb attack outside the country's largest Eid prayer ground at Sholakia.

Police then said their husbands, too, were involved in militancy.

Another four women JMB suspects were arrested at Sirajganj with hand bombs, bomb-making materials and extremist literature in the same month.  

In August, the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) arrested four more female suspects of the banned extremist group in separate raids in Dhaka. The women, some of them medical students, were tasked with recruitment and collection of funds.

Abedatul Fatema among other militant suspects being brought out after an enti-terror raid in Azimpur.

In September, police said four women arrested in Baraitali village at Sirajganj's Kaziparha Upazila were part of a 'JMB suicide squad'.

A member of their family, Faridul Islam aka Akash, was killed during a police raid on a hideout at Gazipur in October.

JMB leader Tanvir Qaderi committed suicide on Sept 10 during a raid on an Azimpur flat that was being used as a hideout, police said.

Three women – Tanvir's wife Abedatul Fatema aka Khadiza, Gulshan attack suspect Nurul Islam Marzan's wife 'Afrin' aka 'Prioti' and JMB leader Basaruzzaman Chocolate's wife 'Sharmin' aka Shaila Afrin - were arrested after they were injured in the raid.  

Police said the women had launched attacks armed with knives and chili powder. One of them was shot by police while the other two attempted to commit suicide using sharp knives.

Suspects Tanvir and Fatema had twin sons, and one among them was caught injured during the raid. The search for their other son led to Ashkona raid on Saturday.

Police, after the raid ended, found the dead body of the other son, Afif Qaderi, inside the hideout.

Trisha Moni Umme Ayesha, wife of fugitive militant Mainul Islam Musa, came out of the hideout with her two children and surrendered to police.

Jebunnahar aka 'Shila' aka 'Sumaiya' aka 'Marzun', 34, wife of JMB leader Major Zahidul Islam killed in Mirpur raid, also surrendered.      

Zahidul Islam, who police say was the military trainer at neo-JMB, with his wife Zebunnessa.

But 'Shakira' aka 'Tahira', 35, wife of fugitive militant Rashedur Rahman Sumon, died after she exploded a suicide vest while coming out of the house with a child.

"Tanvir Qaderi's wife Fatema told us she became involved with militancy after being pressurised by her husband," said counter-terror unit chief Monirul.  

"She said she had a good life. Her husband had a good job. She was coerced into joining the JMB's female group by her husband who had become involved in militancy."

Tanvir Qaderi worked in the mobile banking section of Dutch-Bangla Bank and Fatema worked with Save the Children, an international non-governmental organisation.

The couple resigned from their workplaces saying they were going to Malaysia. A few months later, they were found in the Azimpur hideout.

"The mother of two said she would live in constant fear of humiliation because of her radical husband. Her relatives began rejecting her. She stayed with her husband going against her own wishes.' 

"Prioti, wife of JMB leader Nurul Islam Marzan, described her husband as a controlling man with a very bad temper,” Monirul continued.  

"He would force all his wishes on her. She grew up in her uncle's home and is not very educated. She had no one to look after her. She worried that her husband would leave if she didn’t join the militant group."

As for Shakira, who blew up improvised grenades tied to her waist, Monirul said she may have been suffering from depression. 

"Her first husband Iqbal died from cancer. There are news reports that say her present husband Sumon was caught by police. She was depressed. We believe that maybe the reason why she blew up that vest."

"Militants leaders want their children to believe in their ideology. They believe the process begins with their mothers. So they pressurise their wives into the radical system."

Zebunnahar and Trisha, arrested in Ashkona, have been remanded in police custody for seven days each.