Dhaka Jails Myanmar Nationals Linked to 2014 Blast in Burdwan, India

By Muktadir Rashid   29 April 2019

DHAKA—A special tribunal in Dhaka sentenced three Myanmar nationals linked to a 2014 blast in Burdwan, India to 10 years’ imprisonment each for their roles in carrying explosives on Sunday.

Special Tribunal-4 Judge Muhammed Rabiul Alam announced the verdict to a packed courtroom in the presence of two of the three convicts.

The tribunal also fined the men—Muhammed Nur Hossain, 30, and Yasir Arafat, 26, who were on the dock and Omar Karim, 29, who is on the run after securing bail—10,000 Bangladeshi Taka (US$119) each.

According to investigators all three had previously been residents of Rakhine State.

“They were Myanmar nationals and linked with an international extremist group,” said Muhammad Salahuddin Howlader, assistant public prosecutor at the Dhaka court.

He said the convicts had no lawyers but the state engaged state defense for them. No state defense was present during the verdict announcement.

According to a First Information Report filed by police at the Lalbagh Police Station in Dhaka on Dec. 1, 2014, Nur Hossain, Yasir Arafat and Omar were arrested the the Lalbagh area for being found with explosives during a raid carried out by the Detective Branch of Dhaka Metropolitan Police on Nov. 30, 2014.

A number of others who avoided arrest during the raid were not named in the charges as their whereabouts remain unknown.

Police investigators said in the report that the men were active members of an extremist group and suspected that they had tried to commit sabotage in Bangladesh.

The Detective Branch’s bomb disposal unit sub-inspector SM Raisul Islam stated in the report that they learnt the three arrested had “links to the recent Burdwan explosion [in India].”

The arrests were made two months after an explosion in a house in the Khagragarh area of Burdwan in India on Oct. 2, 2014 which left two suspected extremists killed and another injured.

The Indian police seized 55 improvised explosive devices, organic explosive compound RDX, wrist watch dials and SIM cards at the scene.

Detective Branch investigator Abdul Kader Mia submitted charges against the three accused on March 3, 2015 and charges were formally pressed on July 12, 2015.

The court examined nine of the 18 prosecution witnesses before completing concluding the case on April 9 this year. All witnesses were members of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police.