The government decides to go tough on Jamaat-Shibir to ward off possible pre- and post-verdict violence as judgements in three cases against Jamaat-e-Islami leaders are pending with the Supreme Court and the international crimes tribunals.
To keep the situation under control, the government has already taken several measures including arrest of troublemaking leaders of the Islamist party, which always resorts to violence following every verdict, and surveillance of the activities of Jamaat and its associate student body Islami Chhatra Shibir.
Based on information from the intelligence agencies, the government has selected 15/16 districts with Jamaat strongholds where bloody violence erupted last year and decided to arrest the party's top leaders there, sources said.
As part of the plan, the law enforcers on Monday arrested 21 Jamaat leaders and activists in Chittagong including city unit ameer and former lawmaker ANM Shamsul Islam, sources informed.
Intelligence agencies were keeping an eye on Jamaat-Shibir activities in the selected districts and would beef up their surveillance in the coming days, said an official of the Prime Minster's Office.
Of the districts, Chittagong, Satkhira, Joypurhat, Rajshahi, Cox's Bazar, Comilla, Chapainawabganj, Bogra, Jessore and Gaibandha have been identified as more vulnerable to Jamaat-inflicted violence.
Besides, the ruling Awami League would also instruct its leaders and activists in those districts to remain alert and take to the streets so that no-one could create anarchy, insiders said.
Asked about preparations of the law-enforcement agencies, State Minister for Home Asaduzzaman Khan said the administration was prepared to face any move.
"We are not claiming the same situation that followed Sayedee's verdict will not repeat. But we are taking preparations to avoid such situations," he told The Daily Star.
The law-enforcement agencies had also taken necessary measures based on their experience following the verdict in a war crimes case against Jamaat leader Delawar Hossain Sayedee on February 28 last year.
Sixty-five people were killed and several hundreds injured in the next seven days after the verdict. Besides, temples and houses along with shops and businesses of the minority people, especially the Hindus, were vandalised and torched across the country.
The Supreme Court has already completed hearing of the appeal challenging capital punishment of Sayedee and kept the case waiting for verdict.
Besides, three war crimes cases including one against Jamaat Ameer Motiur Rahman Nizami and another against central leader Mir Quasem Ali, who is considered as one of the top financiers of the Islamist party, have been kept ready by the international crimes tribunals for verdicts.