THE confessions made to police by Junaid Babgunagari, Joint Secretary of Hefajat-e-Islam (HI) largely vindicate what we have been suspecting about the derailed programme on May 5. What is evident is that the HI high command lost control of events on the day early on to hardliners in the party. They were joined by Jamaat-e-Islami activists, particularly its student wing Shibir, and the presence of strongmen from BNP's student and youth wings has also been noted.
The looting and burning of shops in the Motijheel area, arson committed on vehicles and other public property, both government and commercial, were all seemingly part of a well-orchestrated campaign. The fact that a large section of the HI top leadership was in cahoots with other major parties in the opposition alliance is left in little doubt. Their threat to overstay on Shapla Chattar that was in contradiction to what was promised to the government could very well have been geared to forcing down the government. Thankfully, events did not go that way.
About the claims of heavy loss of life at the hands of law enforcement agencies engaged in late night clearing operation at Shapla Chattar, the HI Joint Secretary admitted his ignorance. It confirms the general belief that numbers dead being touted the opposition have been exaggerated. Having said that, we believe due process has been taken recourse to get those valuable information from Babunagari while in remand and not under duress.