Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (Arabic: حركة الجهاد الإسلامي, Ḥarkat al-Jihād al-Islāmiyah, meaning "Islamic Jihad Movement", HuJI) is an Islamic fundamentalist organisation most active in South Asian countries of Pakistan, Bangladesh and India since the early 1990s. It was banned in Bangladesh in 2005. The operational commander of HuJI, Ilyas Kashmiri, was killed in a US Predator drone strike in South Waziristan on 4 June 2011. He was linked to the 13 February 2010 bombing of a German bakery in the Indian city of Pune. A statement was released soon after the attack which claimed to be from Kashmiri; it threatened other cities and major sporting events in India. A local Taliban commander named Shah Sahib was named as Kashmiri's successor.
HuJI or HJI was formed in 1984 by Fazalur Rehman Khalil and Qari Saifullah Akhtar, as the first Pakistan-based jihadist group, during the Soviet-Afghan War. Khalil later broke away to form his own group Harkat-ul-Ansar (HuA), which later emerged as the most feared militant organisation in Kashmir. This group would later re-form as Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM), when HuA was banned by the United States in 1997.
HuJI first limited its operations in Afghanistan to defeating the Communists, but after the Soviets retreated, the organisation exported jihad to the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. HuJI's influence expanded into Bangladesh when the Bangladesh unit was established in 1992, with direct assistance from Osama bin Laden.
HuJI, along with other jihadi groups such as Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), HuM, and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) emerged from the same source,[vague] and therefore had similar motivations and goals. HuJI and HuM were both strongly backed by the Taliban, and therefore the group professed Taliban-style fundamentalist Islam. HuJI espoused a Pan-Islamic ideology, but it believed in violent means to liberate Kashmir and make it a part of Pakistan.
The group recruited some of its cadres from the Deobandi madrassas of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, however the ethnic composition changed when the recruitment also began from Azad Kashmir, Punjab and Karachi. Most of the inductions were done by the roaming jihadist cells, who lured the teenagers with religious sermons imbued with the spirit of jihad, from where the process of induction began. Unlike LeT, HuJI did not require its cadres to go through religious education, rather the recruits proceeded to military training in the camps located in Afghanistan and Pakistan-administered Kashmir.
Plot to overthrow Benazir government
In September 1995, the group was connected with Islamist elements in the Pakistan Army when the group's leader Saifullah Akhtar was implicated in a coup plot. A customs guard inspection of a car outside Kohat revealed a huge arms cache hidden in the back. Subsequent investigations unearthed a conspiracy. Those weapons were directed to Islamist Army officers, Major General Zahirul Islam Abbasi, and Brigadier Mustansar Billah, who had plans to first overthrow the-then Army leadership at the next corps commander meeting and then bring Islamic revolution in the country by overthrowing the Benazir Bhutto government. Both generals conspired to eliminate the top military and civilian leadership and establish an 'Islamic dictatorship' in the country.
Activities in Bangladesh
After the group established its Bangladesh wing, the operations in Bangladesh increased, with the major source of recruitment coming from the Islamic madrassas. The training for these recruits was given in the hilly areas of Chittagong and Cox's Bazaar. Later on, members of the group made an attempt on the life of Shamsur Rahman, the liberal poet in January 1999. HuJi claimed responsibility for the 2001 Ramna Batamul bombings, which killed 10 people. A member of the suicide squad of HuJi also died. Committed to establishing an Islamic rule, HuJI was the prime suspect in a scheme to assassinate the Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina in the year 2000, and has been blamed for a number of bombings in 2005. In October 2005, it was officially banned by the government of Bangladesh.
Activities in India
In April 2006, the state police Special Task Force in India uncovered a plot hatched by six HuJI terrorists, including the mastermind behind the 2006 Varanasi bombings, involving the destruction of two Hindu temples in the Indian city of Varanasi. Maps of their plans were recovered during their arrest. Pakistani passports had been in the possession of the arrested. Huji has claimed responsibility for blasts in the New Delhi high court which claimed the lives of 10 and injured around 60. Vikar Ahmed, a member of a right-wing Islamic group, and connected to HuJI, has been accused of murdering police officers in Hyderabad. He is also a suspect in the Meecca Masjid bombing.
2011 Delhi bombing
14 people were killed and 94 people were injured in the bomb blast. Police have released two sketches of the suspects. Here is the Embedded video link for this latest attack. This link has English news video clip. This is in Hindi Language. Also as clear in the video links, they have also made threats to target other Indian cities.
Designation as a terrorist organisation
Several governments have proscribed HuJI as a terrorist organisation.
In October 2005, Bangladesh banned the militant group.
On 6 August 2010 the United States and the United Nations designated Harakat-ul Jihad al-Islami as a foreign terror group and blacklisted its commander Ilyas Kashmiri. State Department counterterrorism coordinator Daniel Benjamin asserted that the actions taken demonstrated the global community's resolve to counter the group's threat. "The linkages between HUJI and Al-Qaeda are clear, and today's designations convey the operational relationship between these organizations," Benjamin said.
Militant attacks claimed by or attributed to HuJI
|1999||Bangladesh||Failed attempt to assassinate the humanist poet Shamsur Rahman|
|2000||Bangladesh||Alleged failed scheme to assassinate the Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina|
|14 April 2001||Bangladesh||Pahela Baishakh attack on Ramna Batamul|
|2003||India||Role in assassination of the former Gujarat Home Minister Haren Pandya.|
|2002 January||India||Terror attack near the American Centre in Kolkata, executed in collaboration with the Dawood-linked mafioso Aftab Ansari|
|2005 June||India||Bombing of the Delhi-Patna Shramjeevi Express at Jaunpur|
|2005||India||Suicide bombing of the headquarters of the Andhra Pradesh Police's counter-terrorism Special Task Force. A Bangladeshi national, Mohatasin Bilal, had carried out the bombing|
|March 2006||Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India||Bombing of the Sankat Mochan temple, which was traced to HuJI's Bangladesh-based cells|
|25 August 2007||Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India||25 August 2007 Hyderabad bombings (suspected, but no evidence revealed as of early September)|
|13 May 2008||Jaipur, Rajasthan, India||13 May 2008 Jaipur bombings (suspected; evidence pending.)|
|25 July 2008||Bangalore, India||2008 Bengaluru serial blasts (suspected; evidence pending.)|
|26 July 2008||Ahmadabad, India||2008 Ahmedabad serial blasts (suspected; evidence pending.)|
|13 September 2008||Delhi, India||2008 Delhi serial blasts (suspected; evidence pending.)|
|20 September 2008||Islamabad, Pakistan||2008 Marriott Hotel bombing (claimed by HuJI; evidence pending.)|
|1 October 2008||Agartala, Tripura, India||2008 Agartala bombings (HuJI suspected; evidence pending.)|
|30 October 2008||Guwahati, Barpeta, Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon, India||2008 Assam bombings (HuJI suspected; evidence pending.)|
|7 September 2011||New Delhi, India||2011 Delhi bombing (claimed by HuJI; evidence pending.)|
- M Ilyas Khan (4 June 2011). "US strike 'kills' key Pakistan militant Ilyas Kashmiri". BBC. Retrieved 2011-11-08.
- "Asia Times Online :: South Asia news, business and economy from India and Pakistan". Asia Times. 13 February 2010. Retrieved 2011-11-08.
- "Shah Sahib new chief of 313 Brigade". http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk. 13 August 2011. Retrieved 2011-03-07.
- Frontline Pakistan: The Struggle with Militant Islam by Zahid Hussain, Columbia University Press, 2007, page 71.
- Sudha Ramachandran. 'PART 2: Behind the Harkat-ul Jihad al-Islami' Asia Times Online, 10 December 2004
- Frontline Pakistan: The Struggle with Militant Islam by Zahid Hussain, Columbia University Press, 2007, page 52.
- Frontline Pakistan: The Struggle with Militant Islam by Zahid Hussain, Columbia University Press, 2007, page 72.
- Suhrid Sankar Chattopadhyay and Haroon Habib. 'Challenges in the east' Frontline magazine, 17–23 January 2006
- John Wilson. 'The Roots of Extremism in Bangladesh' Terrorism Monitor, January 2005 issue, published by the Jamestown Foundation
- 'Shamsur Rahman, Bangladeshi Poet, Dies' The New York Times, 19 August 2006
- Sudha Ramachandran. 'The Threat of Islamic Extremism to Bangladesh' PINR – Power and Interest News Report, 27 July 2005
- Web18 (7 September 2011). "NIA team of 20 to probe Delhi blast". Firstpost. Retrieved 2011-11-08.
- Islamist extremism related incidents in Andhra Pradesh since 2007 South Asia Terrorism Portal
- "11 dead, 76 injured in terror strike". Hindustan Times. 7 September 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-08.
- Vishwa Mohan (7 September 2011). "HuJI claims responsibility for Delhi high court blast". The Times of India. Retrieved 2011-11-08.
- "Briefcase bomb at Delhi high court kills 11, injures 62". The Times of India (New Delhi). TNN. 7 Sep 2011.
- "Another e-mail claims responsibility for Delhi blasts". YouTube. 9 September 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-08.
- "Delhi Police Releases Sketches of Two Blast Suspects" (in Hindi). YouTube. 7 September 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-08.
- Rahman, Waliur (17 October 2005). "Dhaka outlaws third Islamic group". BBC News. Retrieved 2010-08-24.
- "AFP: US, UN declare Harakat-ul Jihad al-Islami a terrorist group". Google. 6 August 2010. Retrieved 2011-11-08.
- "Designations of Harakat-ul Jihad Islami (HUJI) and its Leader Mohammad Ilyas Kashmiri" (Press release). US Department of State. 6 August 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-12.