Shafi’s death ‘accelerated’ | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 13, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:58 AM, April 13, 2021

Shafi’s death ‘accelerated’

PBI probe finds; Babunagari, 42 others linked; Hefajat in govt’s crosshairs

The Police Bureau of Investigation yesterday submitted its probe report over the death of Hefajat-e Islam chief Shah Ahmad Shafi, saying 43 people, including the Islamist outfit's Amir Junaid Babunagari, were involved in "creating an atmosphere that hastened his death".

In the report, the PBI recommended that charges of "culpable homicide" be brought against the 43 under Section 304 of the penal code, officials involved in the investigation told this newspaper.

According to Section 304, whoever commits culpable homicide, not amounting to murder, will be punished with imprisonment for life or imprisonment for a term which may extend to 10 years.

Inspector Monir Hossen, investigation officer in the case over the "murder" of Shafi, submitted the report to the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate Shahidullah Kaisar.

After Shafi's demise in September last year, his brother-in-law Mohammad Moin Uddin claimed that Shafi was murdered in a planned way and filed the case on December 17 that year against 36 people including Hefajat leader Mamunul Haque.

Taking it into cognisance, the court asked the PBI to submit a report within a month. PBI later requested the court to give it more time.

Of the 36 accused in the case, the names of 31, including Hefajat Organising Secretary Azizul Haque Islamabadi, were on the list of 42 people that the PBI submitted to the court. The investigators included 12 others in the list following probe.

The investigation report, a copy of which has been obtained by The Daily Star, says that under direct and indirect provocation of Hefajat leaders Maulana Nasir Uddin Munir and Maulana Mir Idris, the other defendants barred Shafi from receiving treatment.

It also mentions that they were engaged in deep-rooted conspiracies to grab the Hathazari madrasa.

Talking to The Daily Star yesterday, PBI Chief Banaj Kumar Majumder said the name of Hefajat Joint Secretary General Mamunul was not on the list of 43.

On the other hand, Hefajat chief Babunagari, who was not named as an accused in the case, was included in the list as the PBI found his involvement.

The PBI chief said the court would decide the next course of action.

Contacted, Nazmul Hasan, superintendent of police of PBI Chattogram, said, "Upon investigation, we found truth in the accusations made in the case and submitted the report to the court, mentioning our findings. Now the court will decide the next course of action."

He, however, did not give details.

Shafi died on September 18 last year, a couple of days after unrest hit the Hathazari madrasa, the stronghold of Hefajat. The unrest stemmed from madrasa students demanding removal of Shafi's son Anas Madani from the madrasa management.

After around two months, the then Hefajat secretary general Babunagari was declared Hefajat amir.

ARREST IN 2013 CASE

A Dhaka court yesterday placed Hefajat Organising Secretary Azizul on a seven-day remand in a case filed with Paltan Police station in the capital on May 6, 2013.

Police filed the case against Hefajat men for conspiring to topple the democratic government, vandalising and torching different institutions and vehicles, and preventing law enforcers from discharging duties in the capital on May 5 that year.

Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate Debdas Chandra Adhikary passed the order after Investigation Officer Kamrul Islam Talukder, inspector of the Detective Branch of police, sought Azizul's 10-day remand.

Earlier on Sunday late night, a DB team from Dhaka in a joint drive with Rab arrested Azizul from Hathazari's Baluchora area of Chattogram, Md Asaduzzaman, deputy commissioner (Motijheel Division) of DB police, told The Daily Star.

On May 5, 2013, thousands of members of Hefajat, a Qawmi madrasa-based Islamist organisation, clashed with law enforcers and ruling AL men, turning Motijheel and Paltan areas into a battlefield.

A total of 83 cases were filed in seven districts including in Dhaka, accusing 3,416 named and 84,796 unnamed people. Many of the accused were from the Hefajat, Jamaat-e-Islam and the BNP.

Of the cases, only one filed in Bagerhat has been disposed of. All the accused were acquitted as neither the police nor the prosecutors could prove the charges of attempted murder, arson and vandalism against them, officials said.

Police have pressed charges in 18 other cases and gave final reports in two more. Investigations of the 62 remain stalled.

Seeking anonymity, several police officials said the government's lack of interest in moving forward with the cases was a key reason behind the investigations going into hibernation.

Contacted yesterday, DMP Commissioner Shaifqul Islam, said, "We have given instructions to speed up investigation in all the pending cases against Hefajat men and submit charge sheets against those responsible in one and a half months."

According to insiders in the ruling Awami League, irked by Hefajat's recent violent activities, the government high-ups decided to revive cases over the Islamist outfit's mayhem at Shapla Chattar in the capital in 2013 to put pressure on its top leaders.

At the same time, top leaders of the Qawmi madrasa-based organisation are being made accused in cases filed over the outfit's three-day mayhem in different parts of the country from March 26.

AL insiders said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was annoyed by Hefajat's violent protests against Indian PM Narendra Modi's Bangladesh visit on March 26 -- the day of celebration of the golden jubilee of the country's independence.

Asked, AL Joint Secretary General Mahbubul Alam Hanif yesterday said the government had previously taken a soft stance against Hefajat mento give them a chance to correct themselves. But their recent acts of vandalism and anti-state activities prompted the government to take a hard stance and tackle them with an iron hand.

The AL leader also said the government is determined to bring to book the Hefajat leaders involved in the recent mayhem.

 

[Our Chattogram Staff Correspondent FM Mizanur Rahman contributed to this report]

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