Hefajat forms panel hours after dissolution of central committee


Hours after dissolving its 249-member central committee, Bangladesh militant outfit Hefajat-e-Islam on Monday announced a five-member convening panel through a video message.

Nurul Islam Jihadi, Secretary General of the dissolved committee announced himself as the Secretary General of the convening committee.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan on Sunday said, “All the Islamists, who are involved in massacre, arson and vandalization, were captured on CCTV footages and will be arrested. None of them are innocent.”

Hefajat leaders claimed, they are now under tremendous pressure from the government to restructure its committee by removing the leaders, who are involved in the 5-day massacre, the violent activities by Hefazat and Jamat BNP, that had left at least 17 people dead.

In a video message, Jihadi said Junayed Babunagari had asked him to announce the convening committee and 5-member committee will soon announce the full convening committee of Hefajat-e-Islam,the militant outfit based on Qawmi-Madrasa ,the breeding ground of the militants , financed by Pakistan , Qatar and Saudi Arab, confessed the militant leaders to police.

At around 11:30pm on Sunday Junayed Babunagari in a video message from Hathazari Madrasa in Chattogram announced, he dissolved the committee.

Earlier police exposed top hefazat leader Mamunul Haque has close links with a Pakistani militant outfit. The Hefajat joint secretary general, now on police remand, allegedly developed the links through his brother-in-law Mufti Niamatullah during his Pakistan visit in 2005.

Niamatullah was later arrested in connection with the August 21 grenade attack on Sheikh Hasina and Awami league carried out by banned militant outfit Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (Huji) in 2004.

He also had close ties with Maulana Tajuddin, who was awarded death penalty in the grenade attack case. Tajuddin also confessed before the court, the grenade sent from Pakistan.

Meanwhile, the combined Islamic education board of Qawmi Madrasas on Sunday night announced the teachers and students of Qawmi Madrasas will stay away from all sorts of ‘political activities’.

The government-recognised board, Al Hayatul Ulaya Lil Jamiatul Qaumia, made the “final decision” at a meeting at a Madrasa in the capital’s Jatrabari area with board Chairman Maulana Mahmudul Hasan in the chair, it said in a statement.

The decision by the Qawmi Education board came amid the arrest of the top leaders as a pressure of the government.

It may be an eye wash excluding some, who are directly involved in March 26-31 and April 3 violence by the name of protesting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit in Bangladesh, Hefajat sources told to IANS on Monday morning.

Al Hayatul Ulaya Lil Jamiatul Qaumia is the parent organisation of six Qawmi Madrasa education boards. It arranges the central examinations for Qawmi Madrasas and issues certificates. At least 12 Hefajat leaders who hold various posts in Al Hayatul Ulaya Lil Jamiatul Qaumia attended the meeting.

The Qawmi Madrasa-based militant outfit jumping to negotiate with the government which continues to crack down on its top leaders.

In a bid to convince the government, a Hefajat delegation met the Home Minister at his residence on April 19 night and assured him that students of Qawmi madrasas will not be involved in any anti-government or ‘anti-state’ activities.

19 top Hefajat leaders and around 800 of the militant outfit were arrested across the country over acts of violence and atrocity.

Police said they found evidence of huge financial transactions involving Mamunul and other Hefazat leaders after their confession and also by examining their mobile phone.

Harun-Or Rashid, Dhaka Metropalitan Police (DMP) Deputy Commissioner, Tejgaon Division on Sunday told IANS that Hefazat top leader Mamunul had stayed in Pakistan for 45 days in 2005 and collected a module of a political party in that country. He later tried to apply it to Hefajat.

Harun also said they learnt about it while interrogating Mamunul who is now on seven-day remand in a vandalism case filed with Mohammadpur Police Station of the Capital.

“Mamunul was collecting money from Pakistan, Dubai and Qatar, selling Babri mosque issue in India. He and other hefazat leaders later used these funds to train students at different mosques and madrasas in the country,” said Harun.

At a separate briefing, the Home Minister told that different militant outfits that were crushed in the past are now trying to create anarchy in the country again under Hefajat’s banner.

The decision to reform hefazat was taken to protect the traditional education system from the instability prevailing in the Qawmi Madrasas and to create a conducive environment for conducting various religious activities apart from maintaining the dignity of the ulamas, said the press note.

At the meeting, it was also decided that the qawmi education board Al-Hayatul Ulaya would take decisions and initiatives only related to Quwmi Madrasas, while any boards under Al-Hayatul Ulaya or any organisation or any individual could not take any decision or action or initiative regarding Qawmi Madrasas separately without permission of Al-Hayatul Ulaya.

Muhibullah Babunagari was named the chief adviser of the convening committee. He held the same post in the central committee.

Junaid Babunagari, who was the chief of the dissolved committee, was also named in the same post in the new committee. Besides, Salah Uddin Nanupuri and Principal Mizanur Rahman Chowdhury were made members in the convening committee.