The youth, who police claimed was “in charge of Gulshan attack” and known among fellow militants as Marzan, has been identified by a Pabna family as their son.
“We have seen the photos [released by police] in the media and we are sure this is our son,” Nazim Uddin Nizam of Afuria village in Hemayetpur union told our Pabna correspondent yesterday.
His full name is Nurul Islam Marzan. He is aged around 25 and a student of Arabic department at Chittagong University, Nazim added.
He married a girl named Priyoti one and a half years ago. Eight months back, he took his wife to Chittagong and they have been out of contact since then, the father claimed.
Nazim also demanded punishment to his son if found involved in militancy.
Contacted, Masudur Rahman, deputy commissioner (media) of the DMP, said, “We have initially become sure that he is Nurul Islam Marzan, son of Nazim Uddin of Pabna district.”
CU Vice-Chancellor Iftekhar Uddin Chowdhury told The Daily Star that they came to know from the media that Marzan is a student of Arabic department at the university.
“Instantly, we asked the department chairman, university registrar and proctor to submit all information regarding Marzan by tomorrow [today] noon,” he said.
CU Registrar Prof Kamrul Huda said that following an order, most of the departments of the university submitted the lists of missing students. But Arabic department and several others are yet to comply with it.
Releasing his photograph on Friday, police said that Marzan, a “top-level militant organiser”, was the “operational commander” of the Gulshan café attack.
They claimed that the Gulshan attackers were sending pictures and situation reports to Marzan from inside the café during the siege on the night of July 1.
And he sent those pictures to Tamim Chowdhury, a suspected mastermind of the café attack. The photos were published by propaganda wings of Islamic State.
According to DMP's Counterterrorism and Transnational Crime unit Chief Monirul Islam, Marzan had the overall charge of the Gulshan attack.
Police also said Marzan looked after the information and technology affairs and operational issues of “New JMB”, an offshoot of Jama'atul Mujahedeen Bangladesh.
A police team visited the house of Marzan in Afuria village around 8:30pm on Monday when reporters were present.
Nazim was later picked up by law enforcers for interrogation, according to his relatives and local police sources. But contacted around 10:00pm, Superintendent of Police Alamgir Kabir said that Pabna police have no such report.
Second among 10 brothers and sisters, Marzan studied at a local madrasa before his admission to the university, according to the family.
Nazim, who is a local yarn trader, said it is beyond his imagination how his son, who earlier was a “polite boy”, could be involved with any militant group.
“I don't know how he got involved in terrorist activities. He might have got in touch with a militant group after his admission to the university,” he said.
After enrolment in Chittagong University three years ago completing Alim (equivalent to HSC) from Pabna Alia Madrasa, he started to limit his communication with the family.
“My son used to visit home after long gaps. He didn't come home even for Eid-ul-Fitr [last month],” he said. “We hoped that he would come during the upcoming Eid holidays. We were waiting for him.”
The father claimed nobody in the family use cell phone and they had no way to contact Marzan.
After hearing the news of her son's alleged involvement in militancy, his mother Salma Begum fainted.
“My son, a militant …” after regaining consciousness, she kept saying while in tears.
Though Nazim claimed Marzan has been traceless for the last eight months, locals say they haven't seen Marzan for over one year.
“He was last seen here more than a year back,” said Md Alauddin, a fellow villager.