Radicalism poisons a couple's world
When Shila's marriage with Jahid was settled, her family rejoiced as her future looked good.
A decade after they were married, Shila's family members became a little worried as their contact with her became irregular.
And now they don't even know where she is.
Since Major (retd) Jahidul Islam, said to be the military commander of “Neo JMB”, was killed in a police raid in the capital's Rupnagar, law enforcers have been hunting Jebunnahar Shila.
She is being considered a key militant suspect.
“My mother is in shock. We all are anxious,” said her elder brother Shahidul Haq.
When the family arranged Shila's marriage in 2005, Jahid was an army captain. Shila, fourth among five siblings, completed her MA from Comilla Victoria College about a couple of years after she was married, he added.
Jahid's in-laws think he began to change gradually after going to Canada for a six-month training in 2014.
“Jahid and Shila's contacts with us became rare and he became very religious after coming back from Canada,” Shahidul said.
When Jahid went into early retirement from the army in July last year, he told his in-laws that it was difficult to concentrate on religion while in service.
“We were upset at his decision and tried to talk him out of it. But he was determined,” said Shahidul.
Detectives say Shila was also radicalised along with her husband and she may have become a militant.
“In recent months, Jahid and Shila frequently changed their home addresses to evade detection by law enforcers,” said an official of counterterrorism unit of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP).
“Our investigation strongly suggests that Shila was also involved in militancy. In previous cases, we saw that the husband involved in militancy tried to radicalise wife,” said the officer.
Jahid's in-laws were relieved when he started working at Lakehead Grammar School in Dhaka in December last year.
But he quit his job as general manager (admin) of the school on March 7, said Mowmita Islam, vice principal of the school.
“He resigned by sending us an email saying he had some business to do and wanted to go abroad,” she said.
“He was hired on recommendation from the top management of the school.”
For top posts, like the one Jahid held, the school usually hires persons with references and doesn't publish vacancy announcements, she said.
“We heard that he had very good references and a spotless career profile.”
Army officials recommending him for the position said good things about him, she said.
A month after he had left the school, the accounts section tried to contact him but found his phone unreachable.
“We never met his wife. He never mentioned anything about his family, except once when one of his two daughters fell sick and he had to take a day off.”