Shafi’s death ‘hastened’ | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 13, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:38 AM, April 13, 2021

Shafi’s death ‘hastened’

PBI probe finds; Babunagari, 42 others linked; Hefajat in govt’s crosshairs

The Police Bureau of Investigation in a probe report says Hefajat-e Islam Amir Junaid Babunagari and 42 others were involved in "creating an atmosphere that hastened the death" of the Islamist outfit's supremo Shah Ahmad Shafi.

In the report submitted to a Chattogram court yesterday, the PBI recommended that charges of "culpable homicide" be brought against the 43 under Section 304 of the penal code.

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According to Section 304, whoever commits culpable homicide, not amounting to murder, will be punished with imprisonment for life or imprisonment for a term which may extend to 10 years.

Inspector Monir Hossen, investigation officer of the case over the "murder" of Shafi, submitted the report to the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate Shahidullah Kaisar.

After Shafi's demise in September last year, his brother-in-law Mohammad Moin Uddin claimed that Shafi was murdered in a planned way and filed the case on December 17 that year against 36 people, including Hefajat leader Mamunul Haque.

Taking it into cognisance, the court asked the PBI to submit a report within a month. The PBI later requested the court to give it more time.

Of the 36 accused in the case, the names of 31, including Hefajat Organising Secretary Azizul Haque Islamabadi, were on the list of 43 people that the PBI submitted to the court. The investigators included 12 others in the list following probe.

The report, a copy of which has been obtained by The Daily Star, says that provoked by Hefajat leaders Maulana Nasir Uddin Munir and Maulana Mir Idris, the other defendants barred Shafi from receiving treatment.

It also mentions that they were engaged in deep-rooted conspiracies to grab the Hathazari madrasa.

Talking to this newspaper yesterday, PBI Chief Banaj Kumar Majumder said the name of Hefajat Joint Secretary General Mamunul was not on the list of 43. Hefajat chief Babunagari, who was not named as an accused in the case, was included in the list as the PBI found his involvement.

Contacted, Nazmul Hasan, superintendent of police of PBI Chattogram, said, "Upon investigation, we found truth in the accusations made in the case and submitted the report with our findings to the court. Now the court will decide the next course of action."

Shafi died on September 18 last year, a couple of days after unrest hit the Hathazari madrasa, the stronghold of Hefajat. The unrest stemmed from the madrasa students' demand for removal of Shafi's son Anas Madani from its management.

After around two months, the then Hefajat secretary general Babunagari was declared amir of the Qawmi madrasa-based Islamist organisation.

CASES AGAINST HEFAJAT MEN

A Dhaka court yesterday placed Hefajat Organising Secretary Azizul on a seven-day remand in a case filed with Paltan Police station in the capital on May 6, 2013.

Police filed the case against Hefajat men for conspiring to topple the democratic government, vandalising and torching different institutions and vehicles, and preventing law enforcers from discharging duties in the capital on May 5 that year.

Yesterday, Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate Debdas Chandra Adhikary passed the order after Investigation Officer Kamrul Islam Talukder, inspector of the Detective Branch of police, sought Azizul's 10-day remand.

Earlier on Sunday night, a team of detectives from Dhaka in a joint drive with Rab arrested Azizul from Hathazari's Baluchora area in Chattogram, Md Asaduzzaman, deputy commissioner (Motijheel Division) of DB police, told The Daily Star.

On May 5, 2013, thousands of Hefajat members clashed with law enforcers and ruling AL men, turning the capital's Motijheel and Paltan areas into a battlefield.

A total of 83 cases were filed in seven districts, including Dhaka, against 3,416 named and 84,796 unnamed people. Many of the accused were from Hefajat, Jamaat-e-Islami and the BNP.

Of the cases, only one filed in Bagerhat has been disposed of. All the accused were acquitted as neither police nor the prosecutors could prove the charges of attempted murder, arson and vandalism against them, officials said.

Police have pressed charges in 18 other cases and gave final reports in two more. Investigations in 62 cases remain stalled.

Seeking anonymity, several police officials said the government's lack of interest in moving forward with the cases was a key reason behind the investigations going into hibernation.

Contacted yesterday, DMP Commissioner Shaifqul Islam said, "We have given instructions to speed up probe in all the pending cases against Hefajat men and submit charge sheets against those responsible in one and a half months."

According to Awami League insiders, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was irked by Hefajat's violent protests against Indian PM Narendra Modi's Bangladesh visit on March 26 -- the day of celebration of the golden jubilee of the country's independence.

Following Hefajat's acts of violence, government high-ups decided to revive the cases over the Islamist outfit's mayhem at Shapla Chattar in the capital in 2013 to put pressure on its top leaders.

At the same time, Hefajat leaders are being made accused in cases filed over the outfit's three-day mayhem in different parts of the country from March 26.

So far around, 73 cases have been filed with different police stations in Dhaka, Narayanganj, Brahmanbaria, Chattogram and Sylhet against 45,000 people, including more than a hundred Hefajat leaders and supporters, over the mayhem.

Till yesterday, 111 people, including a dozen Hefajat men, were arrested over their alleged involvement in the violence. 

Contacted, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said police are taking action against those whose names came up during investigations into the incidents of violence.

About the pending cases against Hefajat men, he said those have remained pending for quite long. "We have to make sure that those are disposed of."

Talking to this newspaper, AL Joint General Secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif said the government had previously taken a soft stance on Hefajat men to give them a chance to correct themselves. But their recent acts of vandalism and anti-state activities prompted it to go tough on them.

The government is determined to bring to book the Hefajat leaders involved in the recent mayhem, he mentioned.

SHAFI MURDER CASE

In the case statement, Moin Uddin alleged that Shafi was murdered in a planned way through a collaboration between the accused at direct and indirect instigation of Hefajat leaders Mamunul and Nasir Uddin.

"Shafi was mentally tortured and his oxygen support was removed... The ambulance carrying him to hospital while he was in a critical condition was stopped on the way. All these culminated in the death of my brother-in-law," Moin Uddin told The Daily Star after filing the case.

Hefajat first appeared on the scene in 2009 by protesting a draft national women development policy that provided equal inheritance rights to women.

Things changed after 2013, and Shafi and the AL government got closer. But a faction of the Hefajat, led by Babunagari, was totally against the outfit's "soft approach" towards the government, according to several Hefajat leaders.

In the past, Hefajat and its chief had leaned towards the BNP.

 

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