Bomb blast cases at a glance
● 159 cases filed over series bomb blast in 2005
● Police submitted charge-sheets in 143 and final report in 16 cases
● 96 bomb blast cases already disposed of
● 988 people now in jail in blast cases
● Trail of 2003 JMB attack on Joypurhat police yet to begin
The trials in 47 cases filed in connection with the 2005 series bomb blasts in 63 districts are yet to be disposed of.
In those bomb attacks, 159 cases were filed while 96 of them have already been settled.
Today is the 15th anniversary of the heinous simultaneous bomb attacks that left two people killed and at least 104 injured.
Banned militant outfit Jama'atul-Mujahedeen Bangladesh (JMB) carried out the attacks at 550 spots at the same time in 2005.
Police said the series bomb blasts were more notorious than the 2016 Gulshan café carnage. Though the verdict in the café attack case was announced last year, trials of many of the bomb blast cases are yet to be concluded.
Lawyers said the accused could not be produced before the court regularly since they are named in numerous militancy cases in several districts. Besides, making the witnesses appear in the court hearing was so difficult that many of them had to be summoned for testimony.
They said the cases are taking a bit long time to be disposed of due to these reasons.
Police headquarters said the investigation officers concerned have submitted charge-sheets in 143 cases and the final report in 16 more cases. Ninety-six cases have been concluded so far while 47 cases are being tried with 988 accused in the jail.
In Dhaka, 17 cases were filed after the series blast. Of them, five cases have been dissolved, final reports have been submitted in six cases while five cases are being tried in Dhaka Judicial Court.
Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) of Police Headquarters (Media) Sohel Rana said, "Police submitted the charge-sheets in time after investigations. Besides, militants who are freed on bail are also under our radar."
Dhaka Metropolitan Chief Prosecutor Mohammad Abdullah Abu said they were sincere for the quick disposal of the August 17 bomb blast cases.
Aug 17 attack was "stronger" than café attack
Militant outfit JMB drew attention with the 2001 Satkhira cinema hall bombing. The group carried out nearly 50 attacks at different places of Bangladesh since then, killing at least 100 people until 2013.
Of the attacks, the series bomb blasts were more powerful than the Gulshan café attack in 2016 considering militants' structural capacity and devastation, believed Police's Counterterrorism and Transnational Crimes (CTTC) unit Chief Monirul Islam.
He said the revived edition of JMB, or Neo-JMB, carried out the attack at the upscale Dhaka eatery.
Followed by the café case and Sholakia attack in Kishoreganj, combined anti-terror raids killed 70 suspect militants including the top Neo-JMB Chief Tamim Chowdhury. Other terror kingpins got arrested in the countrywide crackdown and are in jail now.
According to the law enforcers, the raids have weakened the Neo-JMB network, but it is not completely destroyed yet.
Law enforcing officials said bailed militants in numerous factions are now trying to regroup. They are trying to resurface by attacks on police. The extremist will regroup and revitalise the militant network if they get the scope.
A former JMB leader in Naogaon, seeking anonymity, said at least 150 people in the district who got radicalised would return to normal life if the government provided them with rehabilitation.
The ex-JMB man also said many of his former fellows are now trying to regroup and resurface both at home and abroad.
What about other militancy cases?
JMB men attacked police at Khetlal upazila in Joypurhat district on August 14 in 2003 and looted arms and ammunition. Subsequently, 21 were arrested, 13 of whom went into hiding after securing bail in 2004. They are still on the run.
The trial over the case in the attack is yet to begin.
The then top JMB leader Siddiqur Rahman alias Bangla Bhai in an interview in 2005 said, "The clash with police and subsequent legal actions delayed JMB one year to come to light."
About the case filed over the JMB attack, Public Prosecutor Nrepondra Nath Mondol said they were yet frame the charges.
The public prosecutor also said the then JMB Chief Shaykh Abdur Rahman, Operation Commander Siddiqur Rahman alias Bangla Bhai, Bangla Bhai's son-in-law Abdul Awal and brother Ataur Rahman have been dropped from the charge-sheet as they had been already tried in Jhalakathi bombing case.
"Now, it is difficult for us to present the other accused before the court as they are named in other terror cases. The charges will have to be brought in presence of them," he said.
Meanwhile, defence lawyer Mostafizur Rahman argued that the prosecution is responsible to produce the accused before court.