No casualties during Hefajat flushing out
"> Participants at the unveiling ceremony of a whitepaper styled "400 Days of Fundamentalist and Communal Violence of Hefajat-e Islam and Jamaat-e-Islami", prepared by Gono Commission of Ekatturer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee, in WVA auditorium in the capital yesterday. Inset, family members of four of the 39 people, who were killed in clashes in and outside the capital during the mayhem of Hefajat-Jamaat on May 5-6, according to the Gono Commission list. Photo: Star
There were no casualties on early May 6, when law enforcers flushed out Hefajat men from the capital's Shapla Chattar, said a whitepaper by the Gono Commission of Ekatturer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee yesterday.
Previously, Hefajat, Jamaat and BNP claimed that several thousand Hefajat men had been killed during the operation, giving rise to widespread controversy apparently to embarrass the government.
The Gono Commission, however, said a total of 39 people had been killed in clashes in and outside the capital centring the Hefajat rally on May 5-6. Six more law enforcers were also killed during the time, says the report.
The whitepaper styled "400 Days of Fundamentalist and Communal Violence of Hefajat-e Islam and Jamaat-e-Islami" binned the lists of 79 and 61 deaths prepared by Hefajat and rights body Odhikar respectively. It termed the reports incomplete, exaggerated and repetitious.
On the home ministry list, which claimed that a total of 28 people had died that day, the whitepaper said families of some victims had not reported to the police about the deaths and buried the bodies secretly. This kept the government report incomplete.
The Nirmul Committee on June 1 formed the 15-member Gono Commission led by Justice Syed Amirul Islam to find the actual number of casualty during Hefajat's May 5-6 rally. Academicians Serajul Islam Choudhury, Muntassir Mamoon, Borhanuddin Khan Jahangir and journalist Kamal Lohani were also in the commission.
Yesterday, Justice Amirul Islam unveiled the whitepaper at a function in the capital's WVA auditorium. Justice Golam Rabbani, president of Ekatturer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee, chaired the ceremony.
Shahriar Kabir, executive president of the Nirmul Committee who moderated the function, said: "The commission engaged some activists of Hefajat and Jamaat, and ex-operatives of banned outfit Harkat-ul-Jihad (Huji) in its investigation."
The commission also took accounts of Kawmi madrasa students and teachers across the country, and of members of bereaved families to get the correct figure, said Shahriar.
The whitepaper observed that BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia's 48-hour ultimatum on May 4 to oust the government had provoked Hefajat men to unleash violence.
Khaleda Zia and leaders of Hefajat and Jamaat must take the responsibility of the killings and lawsuits should be filed against them as they were the masterminds, said Shahriar, adding that if someone lodged a case against the masterminds, the government should provide him/her with legal assistance.
He also criticised the government for bowing down to "militants" like Hefajat.
"The government had information that Hefajat men might create anarchy across the country if they were allowed a rally in the capital," Shahriar said, asking the government not to let Hefajat hold a rally on November 15.
OBSERVATION ON ODHIKAR REPORT
The commission observed that Odhikar had repeated names of five deceased twice, and two names thrice in its report.
Addresses of 13 dead in Odhikar's list could not be found despite extensive probe, the commission said, adding that the right body's list also skipped serial No-10 in the list and addresses of many deceased were incomplete.
The report also showed the driver of a police vehicle who was killed in the mayhem on May 5 as a Hefajat activist.
OBSERVATION ON HEFAJAT REPORT
The commission stated that addresses of 18 deceased in Hefajat's list could not be traced even after a thorough search. Hefajat had even included five people alive in the list of the dead.
Hefajat also repeated names of 11 persons twice, and of three persons thrice, said the paper.
Although none died in the night of the flush-out, it said, Hefajat had included in its list the name of a private company manager who died of cardiac arrest in the capital's Motijheel area.
Name of another person, who died in a clash at Comilla railway station, had also been added in the Hefajat list, the commission found.
Family members of four of the 39 deceased yesterday came at the WVA auditorium.
Shahjahan Mia lost his younger brother Muhammad Abdul Hannan in a clash on Dhaka-Chittagong highway on early May 6.
He said Hannan, a father of two, was a garment worker.
Day labourer Nurul Islam of Nijtulanda village in Mymensingh is still looking for his younger brother Sirajul Islam.
"On May 6, I came to know that he [Sirajul] had been shot in the head. I never found his body," said Nurul.
Jamaat activist Shamsul Alam, 45, of Teligandia village in Kushtia, was killed on May 5. Seeking financial help, his wife Ferdousi Ara said no Jamaat leader had visited them after her husband's death.
Muhammad Suman Mollah of Dhondi village in Narayanganj received a bullet below an eye when he went to bring his niece back from school. He died of his wounds. Suman's elder sister Ayesha Akhter was present at the programme yesterday.
The Gono Commission handed over Tk 10,000 to each of the four bereaved families.
The commission recommended that the government provide Tk 10 lakh to each bereaved families as compensation. It also called for legal assistance for those victim families that want to file case against Hefajat leaders.
It also urged the government to stop all kinds of political activities in Kawmi madrasas, as most of them are used to recruit militants.