Hizb ut-Tahrir is campaigning secretly in Chattogram city, targeting private university students to recruit fresh operatives, said officials of Counter Terrorism (CT) unit of Chattogram Metropolitan Police.
To strengthen the outfit's organisational activities, its leaders and operatives are working in several groups and picking new members who have good academic and family backgrounds, the officials said.
As part of its strategy, the Hizb ut-Tahrir men are regularly holding meetings and carrying out other organisational activities in different parts of the city. They have chosen busy intersections and playgrounds for their regular meetings to dodge the eyes of law enforcement agencies.
The freshers are being used to paste posters and distribute leaflets in the city, the officials added.
The banned militant outfit's new move came to light after CT officials arrested its two suspected operatives on January 7 and 14. They are Sabqat Ahmed and Fahad Bin Solaiman.
Sabqat, student of a private university in the city, is the chief of the outfit's private education institution wing. Fahad is a college student.
Before the December 30 election, Hizb ut-Tahrir men had pasted posters in the city's Lalkhan Bazar and Court Building areas, criticising the government and urging the people to boycott it.
During investigating the incident, police found involvement of Sabqat and Fahad in pasting the posters and arrested them.
Deputy Commissioner of CT Mohammed Shahidullah told The Daily Star that Sabqat led a group of 20 to 25 students before his arrest and maintained communications with his senior leaders.
Seeking anonymity, a CT inspector told this newspaper that Sabqat came from a well-off family and he joined the outfit two years ago.
“During interrogation on remand, Sabqat told investigators that Hizb ut-Tahrir has a number of operatives and supporters at different colleges and universities, including Chittagong University,” said the inspector.
CT officials, who quizzed Sabqat, said Hizb ut-Tahrir leader Tazwar had motivated Sabqat to join the outfit when he was a college student in the city.
Sabqat also admitted that they used to hold meetings in the city's Kazir Dewri, Lalkhan Bazar and GEC areas as the places were crowded, said the officials.
Before the election, Tazwar, who works at a private organisation, supplied the posters to Sabqat and Fahad, said CT officials, adding that they then, in separate groups, pasted the posters at the dead of night.
CT's Additional Deputy Commissioner (operation) Polash Kanti Nath said they got the names of several people involved in coordinating the outfit's organisational activities.
Police are trying to arrest Tazwar and the others, he added.
According to CT sources, the CMP arrested some 65 alleged Hizb ut-Tahrir men from 2010 to 2018.