The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Militants in veil threat to Bangla women

Dhaka, Dec. 9 (Reuters): A banned Islamist militant group blamed for a series of bombings in Bangladesh has threatened to kill women, including non-Muslims, if they do not wear the veil, a statement said.

The statement by the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen came hours after yesterday’s suicide bomb attack in a northern town that killed at least eight people, the latest of a series of blasts blamed on militant groups in their campaign for an Islamic state.

“Women will be killed if they are found to move around without wearing burqa from the first day of Jilhaj,” the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen said in the statement sent to a Dhaka newspaper office. Jilhaj refers to the Arabic month beginning from early January.

“Women, including non-Muslims, are hereby advised not to go out of home without burqa. Seclusion has been made compulsory for you,” said the statement in Bangla , a copy of which was obtained by Reuters today.

The group, which wants the introduction of sharia laws in Bangladesh, also ordered women students at Dhaka University not to step out after sunset, prompting police to increase security around the campus.

Earlier, a police officer said 30 suspected members of the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen and another outlawed group, Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh, were arrested for involvement in a wave of bomb attacks that have rattled the nation this year.

A dozen bombs were seized in raids across the country, the official said, as police hunted for the leaders of the two outlawed groups.

Two bombs exploded on a crowded street in the northern town of Netrokona yesterday, killing eight.

A suicide bomber was believed to be among the dead, while another was found wounded with an unexploded bomb strapped to his body.

“These bombers are enemies of Islam and must be stopped,” said an official at the ministry of religious affairs, adding that the government had asked clerics to spread the message from the nation’s 250,000 mosques. Yesterday’s deaths took the number of people killed by suspected suicide bombers to 28 in three weeks, including judges, lawyers and policemen.

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