A Dhaka court today framed charges against the chief of militant group Ansarullah Bangla Team and seven North South University students in the killing case of blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider.
Rajib, an activist of the Shahbagh movement demanding death penalty for war criminals, was hacked to death in Pallabi area of Dhaka on February 15, 2013.
Ansarullah Bangla Team chief Mufti Jasimuddin Rahmani and the six NSU students, now in jail, pleaded not guilty and demanded justice after Judge Ruhul Amin of the Third Additional Metropolitan Sessions Judge's Court read out the charges to them.
The seven NSU students are Redwanul Azad Rana, Md Faisal Bin Nayem alias Dweep, Maksudul Hasan alias Anik, Md Ehsan Reza alias Rumman, Nayem Sikdar alias Iraj, Nafis Imtiaz and Sadman Yasir Mahmud
Of them, Rana, who was mentioned in the charge sheet as the “planner” of the murder, is on the run.
The judge framed the charges after rejecting separate petitions submitted by the accused seeking their discharge from the case.
The students had vowed to kill “atheist bloggers” after reading Jasimuddin's books and listening to his sermons, the investigation officer said on the charge sheet.
They targeted Rajib “for his blog posts under the pseudo name of Thabababa” and got divided into two -- “intel group” to collect his details and track him down and the “execution group” to carry out the murder.
Arrested on August 11 last year, Jasimuddin confessed before a magistrate that students inspired by his sermons might have killed Rajib.
After the murder, radical Islamists spread the propaganda that the Shahbagh movement organisers, including Rajib, were “atheists”. Hefajat-e Islam, a Chittagong-based Islamist group, began to press for hanging of the “atheist bloggers”.