Where did the IS cap come from?

IS Cap
As soon as a Dhaka court completes Holey Artisan café attack case judgement delivery on November 27, 2019, the death row convict in the dock wears the cap emblazoned with the emblem of the Islamic State, a global militant outfit. Star file photo

How did one of the most talked about terrorists carry a cap emblazoned with the IS logo to a Dhaka courtroom in and then proceed it put it on for all to see?

How did the person then continue wearing the cap while surrounded by law enforcers?

And finally, where did the cap come from?  

These burning questions were on the minds of everyone in court and on social media yesterday. 

As soon as a Dhaka court finished delivering judgement in the country’s worst ever terrorist attack case, convict Rakibul Islam alias Regan, who was in the dock, wore the cap emblazoned with the emblem of the Islamic State, a global militant outfit. 

Rakibul still had the cap on when police brought him out of the courtroom and took him to a prison van parked on the court premises. Inside the van, another death row convict Jahangir Alam alias Rajib Gandhi was seen wearing a similar cap. 

Witnesses said Regan walked to the court prison without any cap on around 10:25am. When he came out from the court prison around 11:58am to attend the dock, he was wearing a black cap, with no logo on it. 

Many think it was the same cap, but he was just wearing it inside out to hide the emblem. 

After hearing the verdict, Regan put on the black cap, this time with the IS insignia in full. 

Where the trial should have put an end to speculations, yesterday’s spectacle has now given room for even more queries to arise. Only a thorough investigation can provide answers to these emerging questions. Did the terrorists get the caps inside jail or while being taken to the court amid tight security? Was it due to negligence of the jail authorities and law enforcers or because they did not know what the cap represented? 

Security analysts say carrying prayer caps emblazoned with such logos to the courtroom is a security breach.

Meanwhile, a three-member committee headed by the additional IG prisons has been formed to investigate whether the jail authorities had any involvement in this matter, Inspector General (IG) of Prisons Brig Gen AKM Mostafa Kamal Pasha told The Daily Star.

The committee has been instructed to submit the probe report within five days, he said.

“We are handling the issue with great sensitivity,” the IG said, adding that stern measures would be taken against anyone found involved. 

Following yesterday’s verdict, security was beefed up at all the jails across the country, he said.

Chief of Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit Monirul Islam yesterday said they were investigating the incident to get information on how and from where the cap came and whether there was any negligence on the law enforcer’s part.

“It is not an IS cap,” he said, adding, that there was no instance of IS making such a cap. He said there were “Arabic words on it but it needs to be analysed whether it was an IS cap”.

Monir said the black cloth was used by many militant outfits, but it “didn’t mean anything”. 

Law Minister Anisul Huq said the government would conduct an enquiry into the incident. 

“I will get information about this matter and talk to the authorities concerned for [starting] an enquiry,” Anisul Huq said at a press briefing at the conference room of the law ministry in Dhaka.

Security analyst Brig Gen (retd) M Shakhawat Hossain blamed the obliviousness of policemen for the incident.

“I think they don’t have any knowledge about what was written on that cap and about the operative. They saw something written in Arabic. But they were ignorant about what motivation the symbolic cap carries for the militants,” he added.

Jafar Hossain, deputy commissioner (prosecution division) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police, told The Daily Star that they were scrutinising CCTV and media footage to know where Regan got the cap from during the verdict announcement.

Mahbubul Islam, jailer of Dhaka Central Jail in Keraniganj, said that they handed over the accused to the representative of detectives and Special Branch of police after searching them.

“We have all the video footage which show that they left without having any such caps on them,” he said claiming that there was no scope of collecting the cap from within the prison.