HuJI – an introduction

Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HuJI or HJI) meaning “Islamic Struggle Movement”, is an Islamic fundamentalist organization most active in South Asian countries of Pakistan, Bangladesh and India since the early 1990s.

HuJI or HJI was formed in 1984 by Fazalur Rehman Khalil and Qari Saifullah Akhtar, as the first Pakistan-based jihadist, 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 organization 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 organization exported jihad to the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir under the patronage of ISI and the Pakistani establishment. HuJI’s footprint was extended to Bangladesh when the Bangladesh unit was established in 1992, with direct assistance from Osama bin Laden.

HuJI espoused a Pan-Islamic ideology, and has goals of bringing the entire world under Shariat law. It is established in violent means to liberate Kashmir and make it a part of Pakistan. HuJI is also involved in destruction of two Hindu temples in Varanasi. HuJI and HuM were both strongly backed by the Taliban, and therefore the group professed Taliban-style fundamentalist Islam. The group lured the teenagers from Madrasas as recruits and they proceeded to military training in the camps located in Afghanistan and Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

Several governments have proscribed HuJI as a terrorist organization. In October 2005, Bangladesh banned the militant group. On August 6, 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. Ilyas Kashmiri, was reportedly killed in a U.S. Predator drone strike in South Waziristan on June 4 2011 He was linked to the February 13 2010 bombing of a German bakery in the Indian city of Pune.

Major strikes on India by HuJI include attack near the American Centre in Kolkatta (2002), Delhi-Patna Shramjeevi Express bombing (2005), Suicide bombing of the AP counter terrorism special task force (2005), Varanasi bombing (2006), Hyderabad bombings (2007), Jaipur, Bangalore, Ahmadabad, Agartala, Assam bombings(2008), Delhi serial blasts (2008) and Delhi bombing (2011).

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