réflexions

Shibir man behind blogger Rajib killing

Five alleged killers of blogger Ahmed Rajib Haidar were produced at a press briefing at the media centre of Dhaka Metropolitan Police Saturday. Photo: The Daily Star

Five alleged killers of blogger Ahmed Rajib Haidar pose for photograps near the recovered weapons during a press briefing at the media centre of Dhaka Metropolitan Police Saturday. Photo: The Daily Star

AN Islami Chhatra Shibir activist orchestrated the killing of blogger Ahmed Rajib Haidar, detectives on Saturday quoted five students of North South University (NSU) as saying.

The five students confessed to their involvement in the killing, Monirul Islam, a joint commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP), told reporters at a press briefing.

The five, all aged between 19 and 23 years, were arrested during raids in different parts of the capital Friday night, the DMP official said.

The mastermind, whom the NSU students referred to as Borobhai or elder brother, and another one who took part in the killing mission are absconding, he added.

Referring to information gleaned during primary interrogation of the five, detectives said the decision to kill Haidar was taken one and a half months ago.

Split in to two groups—intelligence and execution, at least six, including the five NSU students, accomplished the killing mission on February 15, DB police said.

The revelations came during a press briefing at DMP media centre Saturday morning, three days into Home Minister MK Alamgir’s claim that seven had been arrested in connection with the murder.

The five were produced at the briefing. But journalists were not allowed to talk with the arrestees.

IDENTITIES

Detectives identified the five as Faisal bin Nayeem alias Dwip, 22, Maksudul Hassan Anik, 23, Ehsan Reza Rumman, 23, Naim Sikder Irad, 19, and Nafis Imtiaz, 22.

Dwip and Anik, who hail from Matuail and Keraniganj in Dhaka, are students of Electrical and Electronic Engineering department of NSU while Rumman and Irad, who are from Jhenidah and Brahmanbaria respectively, are students of Electric and Telecommunication department.

Niaz, who hails from Sandwip, is a student of Business Administration.

While Dwip passed HSC examinations from College of Development Alternative, Anik did his O- and A-level from Maple Leaf International School and Imtiaz from Sunshine Grammar School.

Rumman and Irad passed HSC from Jhenidah and Brahmanbaria districts.

Saying that all the five are from well-off families, detectives said fathers of Anik, Rumman and Nafis are businessmen.

Dwip’s father works as executive engineer at Chittagong LGED while Irad’s father lives in Dubai.

According to DB police, the five came to know each other at the varsity prayer room and became friends. They later started to meet and share their ideas through Internet.

Law enforcers have found posts related with Shibir on their Facebook pages, Nazrul Islam Mollah, deputy commissioner of DB (North), told The Daily Star.

“But we haven’t yet found their direct political involvement.”

THE PLOT

The “Borobhai” gave the NSU students addresses of some blogs and asked them to collect information about the writers.

Analysing the posts, the group decided to teach Haidar, who used to write under the name “Thaba Baba” a good lesson, Monirul Islam, a DMP joint commissioner, told newsmen quoting the arrestees.

Once the decision to kill Haidar taken, an “intel group” was formed to collect detailed information about the blogger analysing his posts on blogs and Facebook, and track him down.

The “execution group” consisted of three members—Dwip, Anik and Irad.

THE KILLING

After collecting all necessary information about “Thaba Baba”, the intel group hit the road to identify him physically on February 9, Monirul Islam said.

Within the next couple of days, the group identified Haidar through his friends.

On February 11, Rumman followed Haidar from Shahbagh Projonmo Chattar to Mirpur-10 intersection. “Rajib was in a bus and the Rumman man followed him by a bicycle,” said the police official.

Rumman failed to find out Haidar’s house that day.

The next day, he succeeded to locate his home at Palashnagar.

“The group later started to collect information from the locals regarding Haidar’s profession, lifestyle, relatives etc to finalise their killing plan,” said Monirul.

Later, Anik and 2/3 others went to Notun Bazar and bought machetes and knives. Anik paid the money, the arrestees divulged.

On the day of killing, February 15, the group came to know from Haidar’s Facebook page that he would not go to Shahbagh that day and rushed hurriedly to Palashnagar by bicycles and bus, said Monirul Islam.

At around 4:00pm, they reached there, carrying the machetes and knives in schoolbags.

The group started to play cricket in an alley near the blogger’s house to keep watch when he returned.

As the sun was going down, Haidar was seen returning home.

When Haidar neared the gate of his house, Dwip hit him with a machete in a bid to sever his head from the shoulder, but failed to succeed in doing so.

After two more hits, the victim fell on the wall and Dwip continued to chop him, said Monirul.

Anik joined Dwip this time and started to stab Haidar with a knife.

As Dwip continued stabbing indiscriminately, he hit Anik in his big toe.

Ensuring Haidar was dead, the killers fled the area.

AFTER THE KILLING

While fleeing Palashnagar accomplishing their mission, the killers left a machete near a tea stall there, said the DMP official.

Hurt in his leg, Anik went to Kakrail area and threw away his sneakers in front of Department of Films and Publications office there.

ARREST

After several raids in Kakrail, Khilgaon, Baridhara, Bashundhara and Panthapath areas, detectives succeeded to arrest Anik.

Acting on information gleaned from him, they later netted the rest four from different places in the capital.

According to Monirul Islam, police recovered Anik’s sneakers from Kakrail and some more machetes in a sewage line beside Shere-Bangla Nagar school acting on the confession of the arrestees.

The law enforcers recovered total six machetes, one bicycle, a laptop, a bag and eight mobile phone sets from the possession of the arrestees, he added.

Producing the five before Chief Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court of Dhaka after the briefing, Mainul Islam, a DB inspector who is investigation the case, sought 10-day remand for interrogating them.

Judge Tanvir Ahmed however granted seven-day remand.

ALMOST PROFESSIONAL

The group chalked out the plan and executed it like professional killers, Monirul Islam said.

“From his description of stabbing Rajib, you can visualise Dwip as a skilled carpenter cutting woods.”

Sometimes before February 15, the group threw the ball inside Haidar’s house on the pretext of playing cricket and had a view of the inner side, he added.

The group earlier made an attempt to kill Haidar but did not find him in a suitable location, said Monirul.

“Three of them told us that they are not repentant for what they have done. They said it was their religious obligation to kill Rajib.”

32 killed as Jamaat men run riot across country

Violence shot up to an unprecedented height on Thursday when at least 32 persons, including four policemen, were killed and scores injured as alleged Jamaat-Shibir men clashed with law enforcers across the country, including the capital, to protest trial of Delawar Hossain Sayedee.

The deceased include 16 claimed by Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir as their members, and a college teacher and two activists of Jubo League.

After pronouncement of the verdict—death sentence to Sayedee, the angry protesters attacked a police outpost in Gaibandha and killed three cops there, knifed to death a police constable in Chittagong and set fire to a temple and houses of Hindu community in Noakhali.

Even before the verdict was delivered, Jamaat-Shibir men took to the streets to enforce a daylong shutdown to strike fear into the hearts of people most of whom expressed solidarity with the ongoing Shahbagh demonstration demanding capital punishment for war criminals.

As news of deaths continued pouring in from different parts of the country, panic gripped Dhaka dwellers yesterday evening as unknown miscreants unleashed terror by exploding bombs in the city’s Mirpur-1.

Some people threw a bomb at an unknown rickshawvan driver, 35, at 8:00pm, injuring him badly .

When he was rushed to Dhaka Medical College Hospital, doctors declared him dead.

GAIBANDHA

Soon after the announcement of the verdict, hundreds of Jamaat-Shibir men put barricades on the roads and attacked a police outpost at Banondanga railway station in Sunderganj Upazila.

They beat up policemen with lethal weapons, killing three police constables—Hazarat Ali, Najimuddin, Bablu Mia—on the spot.

Three others were rushed to Rangpur Medical College Hospital in critical condition.

As the attackers tried to set fire to the outpost by pouring petrol, police opened fire to disperse them.

Three persons were shot dead at this stage. While one was identified as Anej, 35, a vegetable vendor, identities of the rest two could not be learnt immediately.

Three other bullet-hit persons were rushed to Sundeganj Health Complex.

The mob people later set fire to Banondanga rail station, uprooted rail tracks and put barricades on roads besides vandalising several shops.

THAKURGAON

About 1,500 Jamaat-Shibir men took out a procession from Goreya Bazaar in Sadar upazila after the verdict and attacked 10/15 shops and 10/12 houses of Awami League men and the Hindu community.

Members of police and Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) teams rushed there and fired blank shots and tear shells to disperse the attackers.

Encircling the law enforcers, the marauding Jammat-Shibir men started to throw brick-bats and, at one stage, closed in to fight them.

Police opened fire to escape, leaving one Firoz, 24, dead on the spot and about eight to 10 injured.

Rubel, a 13-year-old Shibir supporter, was found lying dead, bullet-hit, inside a shop later.

When locals rushed one Munir Uddin, 20, and Nironjon, 25, of Goreya village to Thakurgaon Sadar Hospital, doctors declared them dead, said Rezaul Karim, officer-in-charge of Thakrugaon Police Station.

RANGPUR

Five people were killed and 100 including 22 cops were hurt in clashes between the Jamaat-Shibir men and police in Mithapukur and Pirrgachha upazilas.

Jamaat-Shibir pickets hurled brick chips at police when the latter appeared at Mithapukur Bazaar around 2:45pm and asked them to free the road.

Besides charging baton, police opened fire to disperse them, leaving three people killed and 65 hurt.

Abu Hena Mostofa Kamal, OC of Mithapukur Police Station, identified them as Mahmudul Hasan, 20, Moshiur Rahman, 22 and Sadequr Rahman, 19, all Shibir activists.

In Peergachha, 41 people, including 21 policemen, were injured in a similar clash at Pirgachha Railway Station area. Of them, a sub-inspector of police and five Jamaat-Shibir men were bullet-hit.

SATKHIRA

Jamaat activists tried to enter Satkhira town with a procession when police and BGB men intercepted them and asked them to go away. As they tried to defy police, the law enforcers fired rubber bullets and charged baton on them.

At one stage of the clash, Jamaat activists Tuhin and Saiful and Jubo League worker Shahin died receiving bullets and 100, including two BGB personnel, were injured.

The Jamaat men also attacked Mamun, a newly appointed teacher of Satkhira City College, and set fire to his house. He died at Satkhira Sadar Hospital while undergoing treatment there.

CHITTAGONG

When Jamaat-Shibir men brought out a procession to protest Sayedee verdict in Lohagora upazila in the afternoon, police tried to intercept it.

Police opened fire, killing Mesbah Uddin, 26, a Shibir man, on the spot.

The Jamaat-Shibir men later attacked police with lethal weapons, knifing dead M Tarque Hossain, a constable of Lohagora Police Station.

NATORE

After announcement of the verdict, around 200 Jamat-Shibir men swooped on the house of a Jubo League leader in Kadamchilan area under Lalpur upazila and chopped him mercilessly, leaving him dead on the spot.

Matiyar Rahman, OC of Lalpur Police Station, identified the slain as Khairul Bashar, 27, joint-secretary of Kadamchilan Union Parishad unit of Jubo League.

They Jamat-Shibir men also torched a police-van, injuring five policemen.

DINAJPUR

Nearly 5,000 Jamaat-Shibir activists set fire to four roadside shops at Ranirbandar area under Chirirbandar upazila to protest the verdict against Sayedee.

When police and BGB men tried to disperse the attackers, the latter attacked the law enforcers.

The BGB men fired bullets at them, leaving one fruit trader, Foiz Uddin 25, of Nasratpur village, dead and injuring two.

Motinur Rahman, president of Dinajpur town unit of Shibir, claimed the deceased to be their activist.

In another clash at Doshmail area in Sadar upazila, 30 were injured when Jamaat-Shibir men clashed with lkaw enforcers.

CHAPAINAWABGANJ

Jamaat-Shibir men damaged vehicles at Shibtala area in the afternoon Chapainawabganj town to protest the verdict against Sayedee.

As police, joined by anti-hartal activists, tried to resist them, the Jamaat-Shibir men attacked them with sticks, brick chips and blasted bombs.

Police opened fire on them, injuring three including Nasir Uddion, 23, a student of Nawabganj Alia Madrasa in the town.

Local Jamaat leaders claimed Nasir to be a Shibir activist.

MOULVIBAZAR

When angry Jamaat-Shibir men were protesting the verdict against Sayedee at Borolekha Bazar around 5:30pm, police tried to disperse them, triggering a clash.

Bullet-hit, one Lokman Hossain, 22, died on the spot.

Faysal Ahmed, general secretary of upazila unit of Jamaat, claimed the deceased to be a Shibir worker.

COX’S BAZAR

A madrasa student was killed in a gunfight between Shibir men and police in Pekua upazila town.

The clash erupted around 3:00pm when Jamaat activists opened fire on the law enforcers to protest the verdict of Sayedee.

SIRAJGANJ

Jamaat-Shibir men vandalised a van of Rab patrol team at Chandidaspur in Sadar upazila at 12:30pm yesterday.

As police lobbed teargas canisters to disperse the attackers, Jamaat-Shibir men attacked them with sticks and hurled brick chips.

The clash, which continued for nearly 30-minute, left 11 including one Ruhul Amin, 18, of Chandidaspur area, injured. Ruhul succumbed to his injuries when he was rushed to Sirajganj Sadar Hospital. Another Shibir activist was also killed in the clash.

Jamaat called a half-day shutdown in the district to protest the death.

NOAKHALI

Jamaat-Shibir activists clashed with law enforcers as the latter tried to dissuade them from vandalism in different parts of the district.

Liton, 28, a fish trader, died there receiving bullets.

Md Khokon, 17, a tempo employee who received a bullet wound in the clash, was pronounced dead when rushed to Noakhali Medical College Hospital at 4:00pm.

RAJSHAHI

A Shibir activist was killed in a clash with police in Rajshahi.

To protest the verdict, around 500 Jamaat-Shibir men attacked law enforcers at Binodpur Bazaar, leaving two policemen including assistant commissioner of Rajshahi Metropolitan Police injured, Abul Hasnat, injured.

At least 50 cocktails were exploded during the attack.

Law enforcers fired hundreds of gunshots and teargas canisters to bring the situation under control.

At 8:30pm, a bomb blast in front of Rajshahi city AL office injured 11 AL men.

Sayedee to be hanged

8 out of 20 charges were proved beyond doubt, says tribunal

Delawar Hossain Sayedee

Delawar Hossain Sayedee

A Dhaka tribunal on Thursday handed death penalty to top Jamaat-e-Islami leader Delawar Hossain Sayedee for committing crimes against humanity during the 1971 Liberation War.

The 73-year-old Jamaat nayeb-e-ameer was handed down the penalty for eight wartime criminal offences as his party enforced a shutdown threatening anarchy across the country.

The three-member tribunal said eight out of 20 charges pressed against Sayedee were proved beyond doubt. Sayedee received death penalties in two cases—filed for the killing of Ibrahim Kutti and Bisha Bali.

Sayedee defiant

Disagreeing with the judgement vehemently, the convict stood up on the dock and blamed the judges for “not giving the verdict from the core of their heart”.

The verdict came due to the excessive pressure from “some atheists of Shahbagh”, he reacted.

Many present in the courtroom yelled at Sayedee to keep his mouth shut, calling him “promanito razakar”, which means a proved collaborator.

At 2:23pm, the convict was taken out of the tribunal premises in a prison van and was taken to Dhaka Central Jail.

Defence to appeal

Saying they are aggrieved at the verdict, Sayedee’s relatives and counsels said they would appeal against it.

“While he (Sayedee) was not supposed to be jailed for even a single day, Sayedee has been awarded capital punishment. We must file an appeal,” Tarikul Islam, a member of the defence team, told reporters.

Masud Sayedee, the third son of the convict, alleged that the verdict was delivered to satisfy a “third party”. He however did not elaborate.

“We will go to the Supreme Court,” he told reporters on the court premises.

The judgement

Justice Anwarul Haque of the International Crimes Tribunal-1 which held the trial started reading out the summary of the 120-page judgement in a heavily packed courtroom around 11:10am. After he read out certain parts of the summary, Justice Jahangir Hossain Selim read out rest of it.

Chairman of the tribunal, Justice ATM Fazle Kabir, pronounced the punishment later as the proceedings came to an end at 1:40pm.

Earlier, a prison van carrying Sayedee entered the tribunal premises around 9:30am. He was first kept at the tribunal custody. Sayedee was moved to the tribunal shortly before the pronouncement of the judgement began.

Security was beefed up in and around the tribunal prior to the proclamation of the verdict.

Of the six top Jamaat leaders charged with crimes against humanity, Sayedee is the second to be convicted. In 1971, he served as an active member of Peace (Shanti) Committee which was instrumental against the birth of Bangladesh.

A former lawmaker elected with Jamaat ticket, Sayedee faced charges of crimes against humanity including looting, killing, arson, rape and forcefully converting people into Muslims during the Liberation War.

The 18-month-long proceedings of the case at Tribunal-1 had to negotiate difficult hurdles, including the “Skype controversy”, reconstitution of Tribunal-1 and rehearing of closing arguments.

Thursday’s verdict was the maiden judgement of the ICT-1. But it is the third war crimes verdict to be delivered.

International Crimes Tribunal-2, the other court dealing with the war crimes offences, sentenced Jamaat assistant secretary general Abdul Quader Mollah to life in prison on February 5 for committing crimes against humanity during the Liberation War.

The same tribunal, earlier on January 21, gave death sentence to expelled Jamaat member Abul Kalam Azad, also known as Bachchu Razakar, for genocide and murder.

Like the day the verdict in Quader Mollah’s case was delivered, Jamaat enforced a countrywide dawn-to-dusk hartal Thursday assuming that “an unjust punishment would be awarded to Sayedee”.

Jamaat played an active role to foil the freedom struggle of Bangladesh and helped the Pakistani occupational forces to that end. During the nine-month war, the Pak army along with its collaborators killed about three million Bangalees and violated more than a quarter million women.

Charges

One of the charges cites Sayedee’s involvement in the killing of three Bangalee government officials in the then sub-division of Pirojpur and throwing their bodies in the Baleshwar river.

Foyzur Rahman Ahmed, a police officer and father of eminent writer Humayun Ahmed and noted educationalist-writer Muhammad Zafar Iqbal, was among the three. The two others were deputy magistrate Saif Mizanur Rahman and sub-divisional officer (in-charge) Abdur Razzak.

During the Liberation War, Sayedee along with other armed Razakars kept Bipod Saha’s daughter Vanu Saha confined to their home at Parerhat under Pirojpur Sadar Police Station and regularly raped her there.

Being a member of collaborator force Razakar, Sayedee exercised his power to convert 100-150 Hindus of Parerhat and other villages into Muslims and forced them to go to mosque to pray.

On May 4, 1971, Sayedee as a member of Peace (Shanti) Committee informed the Pakistan army about a secret gathering of a group of people behind the Madhya Masimpur bus-stand in Pirojpur and took the army to the spot. The army killed 20 people.

On that day, Sayedee along with his accomplices looted valuables of members of the Hindu community living in Masimpur Hindu Para. They also set the houses of Hindus ablaze and opened fire on the people who were fleeing the scene. At least 13 people were killed then.

The trial

Sayedee was arrested on June 29, 2010 in a case filed in connection with hurting religious sentiment of Muslims.

He was shown arrested in the war crimes case later.

The investigation agency, designated to deal with war crimes probes, handed over its report on Sayedee to the prosecution on May 31, 2011, and the prosecution on July 11, 2011, submitted formal charges against Sayedee.

The Tribunal-1 took the charges into cognisance on July 14, 2011.

He was indicted on October 4, 2011.

On November 20, 2011, the prosecution placed its opening statement and started to produce their witnesses on December 7, 2011.

The defence began producing their witness on September 2, 2012.

Following repeated failure to produce witnesses, the Tribunal-1 closed defence witness testimony recording.

The defence and prosecution completed placing their closing arguments between November 5, 2012, and December 6, 2012.

The Tribunal-1 reheard the closing arguments between January 13, 2013, and January 29, 2012.

Tajul Islam, a defence lawyer of Sayedee’s case, told The Daily Star Wednesday evening that they were yet to decide whether they would show up for verdict delivery due to the hartal.

Demo demanding Sayedee’s death

Thousands of youths who burst into protest after announcement of verdict in Mollah’s case and have been continuing demonstration at Shahbagh since then, gathered at Shahbagh Projonmo Chattar Wednesday evening to resist Jamaat and its student body Islami Chhatra Shibir’s possible violence and covert attacks.

The Shahbagh protesters said they would celebrate and return home in elation after Sayedee had been awarded the death penalty.

They would continue with their agitation if the verdict fell short of their expectations, they added.

Anti-Shahbagh smear campaign continues

TAKING advantage of the anonymous and virtual nature of the Internet and manipulative power of graphic and video software, a group of online activists supporting war criminals have launched an all out propaganda against the spirit of Shahbagh movement through social media like Facebook and blogs, The Daily Star reports.

By posting pictures of one event and claiming them to belong to another and manipulating photos and videos in websites, these activists are trying to prove that Shahbagh demonstrators are receiving money from Indian secret service, RAW, and that heinous crimes are being committed by the police against religious people.

This propaganda not just aims at the people to create an anti-Shahbagh opinion, but also at the governments of other countries. The Daily Star received a lot of alerts from the concerned people inquiring about what was going on.

Most of the Facebook posts are aimed against women who are participating in the Shahbagh movement.

In one instance, a picture of a young woman dancing with a bottle of wine surrounded by many young men was shown as a daughter of a famous person who was busy partying at Shahbagh at night.

This was actually a picture from a new year’s party at a city hotel. The picture was manipulated by darkening its background so that it would appear as if it was taken at a street at night.

Another Facebook picture showed a girl covering her face with her hands at some public place. The post said that 11 girls were raped in Shahbagh recently and she was one of them.

These girls are now missing, the post added. But in reality no such incident had taken place.

Another post showed a man exchanging money with some people at Shahbagh. The post claimed that this man was a RAW agent who was busy distributing money among the Shahbagh organisers.

How the person, who posted this picture, knew that this was a RAW agent can not be verified.

In another page, a picture of a massive religious congregation was shown as a Friday gathering of Muslim devotees protesting atheist bloggers of Shahbagh. A careful scrutiny reveals that this was a picture of an eid congregation that was published in newspapers before.

The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) more than a week earlier had suspended a dozen blogs and some Facebook accounts.

But since one person can create thousands of Facebook pages sitting in a room in Dhaka or any other city of the world posing as anyone else, the cyber propaganda continues unabated.

Giasuddin Ahmed, vice chairman of BTRC said, “There are thousands of such pages. With our limited resources, it’s not possible to monitor and search all the sites and Facebook accounts.”

He also said if anybody complains specifically against any blog or Facebook account, the commission could take action.

“The BTRC is not monitoring it politically. We are doing our job as per the law. As per the law, cyber crime is a punishable offence,” he added.

A wing of Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) is also monitoring the social sites, said Lt Col Ziaul Ahsan, director of Rab intelligence wing.

But taking any legal action was a challenging task as it was almost impossible to identify the cyber criminals who use fake identities.

Religious instigation: Jamaat indeed involved

The image from TV footage shows Jamaat Assistant Secretary General Mujibur Rahman, in dark Punjabi, coming out of Baitul Mukarram Mosque with protesters immediately after the Juma prayers last Friday. Jamaat denied he was there. Image: Independent TV

The image from TV footage shows Jamaat Assistant Secretary General Mujibur Rahman, in dark Punjabi, coming out of Baitul Mukarram Mosque with protesters immediately after the Juma prayers last Friday. Jamaat denied he was there. Image: Independent TV

LEADERS of eight Islamic parties and law enforcers have strongly claimed that Jamaat-Shibir men were there during Friday’s countrywide demonstration demanding punishment to “atheist” bloggers of Shahbagh protest, The Daily Star reports.

Talking to The Daily Star yesterday they said Jamaat-Shibir activists blending in with leaders and activists of the eight Islamist parties, which had organised Friday’s demonstration, carried out attacks on law enforcers and journalists, especially that took place in front of the capital’s Baitul Mokarram mosque.

On Friday, the agitators burned the national flag and vandalised Shaheed minars at several places in the country to counter the mass movement demanding capital punishment to the war criminals of 1971.

This drew huge flak for Jamaat and Shibir that had extended open support to the Islamist parties’ agitation against the Shahbagh movement.

Most of the mainstream electronic and print media blamed Jamaat-Shibir for attacking on law enforcers and acting in disguise under the banner of the eight Islamist parties.

Jamaat, a key component of the BNP-led 18-party alliance, refuted the allegation.

Since September last year, Jamaat-Shibir men have been applying new strategies, including hit-and-run attacks on law enforcers, and vandalising and torching public vehicles, demanding the International Crimes Tribunal to be made void and release of its leaders facing war crimes charges in the tribunal.

Although Jamaat has been saying that they were not with the recent movement of eight Islamist parties’, a number of leaders of the Islamist parties yesterday claimed that Jamaat-Shibir men had intruded in their Friday’s protest across the country and were involved in provocative activities.

Footage of a private television channel on Friday’s protest at the national mosque shows a Jamaat assistant secretary general coming out of the mosque with protestors immediately after the Juma prayers.

Well informed sources identified the Jamaat secretary general as Mujibur Rahman, who according to the sources had been arrested in January and came out on bail later. Law enforcers arrested him again on Friday.

A staff of Jamaat central office, however, denied the fact.

International Affairs Secretary of Bangladesh Khelafat Andolon Abu Kasim Kasimi told The Daily Star, “What can we do if Jamaat-Shibir men intrude in our movement and carry out subversive activities to realise their demand?”

Newly-elected Chairman of Islami Oikya Jote Abdul Latif Nejami also echoed Kasimi and added that a large number of people took part in the protest in front of Baitul Mokarram and Jamaat-Shibir men were likely to blend in with them.

Ahmadullah Ashraf, ameer of Bangladesh Khelafat Andolon which is leading the eight Islamic parties, on Tuesday told this correspondent that Jamaat men might have been involved in Friday’s mayhem across the country including torching the national flag and vandalising Shaheed minars.

Apart from the three leaders, some other leaders of the eight Islamist parties wishing anonymity also spoke of Jamaat-Shibir the same way.

On Friday, Deputy Commissioner (Motijheel zone) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police Nazmul Alam told reporters that Jamaat-Shibir activists posing as general devotees had attacked on police and committed other destructive activities around the national mosque.

Yesterday, he said that in primary investigation they had got the evidence that Jamaat-Shibir men had been there during Friday’s violence in the capital.

“We have arrested more than 172 people in connection with Friday’s anarchy in the city and according to our primary findings, some of the arrestees are linked with Jamaat-Shibir,” he added.

Supreme Judicial Council to decide HC judge’s fate

President Zillur Rahman on Monday approved the proposal to form a Supreme Judicial Council to decide the fate of High Court judge Mizanur Rahman Bhuiyan for his “misconduct”.

Mizanur sent photocopies of news items on the alleged blog write-ups of slain Shahbagh activist Ahmed Rajib Haidar regarding Islam and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) to other Supreme Court judges in separate envelopes on February 18. The reports were published in vernacular daily Inqilab the same day.

Confirming the president’s approval, the law minister told The Daily Star that the Supreme Judicial Council would now investigate into the matter.

Mizanur was appointed as an HC additional judge on July 29, 2002 and his job was confirmed two years later during the previous BNP-Jamaat regime.

Hours after receiving the envelops, many HC judges met Chief Justice Md Muzammel Hossain and urged him to take measures against Mizanur through the Supreme Judicial Council.

The chief justice called Mizanur at his SC office and cautioned him for his action, according to sources.

On February 19, the ruling alliance MPs blasted the HC judge for his actions and saying that he had violated the constitution by the act. The law minister assured the MPs that he would discuss with the chief justice to form a Supreme Judicial Council to take actions against the HC judge.

Jamaat’s new ploy to incite violence

THE Jamaat-e-Islami may seek to incite violence across the country by doing something outrageous to hurt religious sentiment of the people and shifting the blame on others, according to an intelligence report submitted to the government.

The report submitted Sunday warns the government of Jamaat and its student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir‘s new ploy to create anarchy in the country, a highly placed source said.

Meanwhile, Mahbubul Alam Hanif, a special assistant to the prime minister, told The Daily Star last night, “We have information that Jamaat may take very provocative steps to instigate violence by burning religious items and putting the blame on others.”

Hanif, also joint general secretary of the ruling Awami League, said, “We urge people and Islamist political parties not to be misled by Jamaat’s heinous acts.”

Earlier on Friday, Jamaat and its sympathisers attacked law enforcers and journalists, burned and tore the national flags and vandalised Shaheed Minars, reacting to the mass movement for capital punishment to 1971 war criminals.

The countrywide violence that day left at least four people killed and nearly 1,000 including 14 journalists injured.

Activists of Jamaat and like-minded parties also chanted slogans against the organisers of the Shahbagh movement, which has been calling for death penalty for all war criminals and a ban on Jamaat-Shibir.

Gonojagoron Manchas, set up across the country to express solidarity with the Shahbagh movement, were also vandalised.

In the wake of Friday’s violence, the government high command thinks there is now no alternative to banning Jamaat for involvement in crimes against humanity during the Liberation War in 1971, said party sources.

AL Central Working Committee (ALCWC), the highest decision-making body of the ruling party, would soon meet to discuss the issue.

“We are seriously considering banning Jamaat,” said Hanif, adding that Law Minister Shafique Ahmed had been reviewing all the legal aspects regarding the matter.

The PM’s special assistant said a concrete decision on the issue would be made at the next ALCWC meeting.

AL Organising Secretary AFM Bahauddin Nasim told The Daily Star that legal issues would be reviewed to make a decision about the financial and business institutions of the anti-liberation party. Banning Jamaat was a matter of time now, he added.