May 16, 2021

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Besamal custody under pressure

Babungari-led Hefazat-e-Islam Bangladesh has dissolved the committee under three types of pressure. The organization has recently been cornered by the arrest of many central leaders due to one sabotage and controversial activities after another. The leaders of the organization tried hard to reach an agreement with the government to avoid arrest of the leaders and activists in the sabotage case and to avoid a multi-pronged investigation. In the meantime, a meeting has been held with the Home Minister and other intelligence officials. At that meeting, Hefazat was given three strict conditions, including the exclusion of political leaders from the organization. With this pressure, Hefazat came under two more pressures within the organization. One of them is that after the resignation of some leaders who opposed some activities including sabotage for political purposes, many more were threatening to resign. Another is that the pressure on top leaders to stop arrests was mounting.

Under these three pressures, the disoriented top leaders risked their arrest and hastily announced the dissolution of the Central Committee of Hifazat. Amir Junaid Babungari said in a video message on Facebook around 11pm on Sunday that the central committee was dissolved on the advice of some important leaders of the central committee of the non-political organization Hefazat-e-Islam considering the overall situation in the country. Hefazat’s activities will be conducted through the convening committee in the coming days.

Even after this, Babungaripaksha announced the convening committee at midnight to maintain their control in the organization. The three-member convening committee was first announced in a notification sent to the media at around 3.45 pm. The convening committee, headed by Mahibullah Babungari, an adviser to the defunct committee, first included the outgoing Amir Junaid Babungari and the outgoing secretary general Nurul Islam Jihadi. As the current leaders are in the three-member committee, the two were added again thinking that there might be a question in the negotiation of the agreement. Later at 4 pm, another notification said that Salahuddin Nanupuri and Professor Mizanur Rahman Chowdhury have been added as members of the convening committee. In all, a five-member convening committee.

A source in the administration said that due to such tactics, the government and the administration did not have faith in Hefazat as anti-sabotage. Hefazat’s activities are still being monitored with suspicion. There are no new directives in the process of arresting and investigating the top leaders in the case.

Meanwhile, to handle the situation, the central committee was dissolved and the convening committee was announced in two phases, but many in the custody are unhappy with this committee. Anger and frustration among the general staff also broke the committee. But leaders have begun the race for new polarization. Apart from Professor Mizanur Rahman, four others in the convening committee are relatives of Junaid Babungari. Mahibullah Babungari is related to his own uncle, brother-in-law and nephew of Nurul Islam Jihadi cousin and daughter of Salauddin Nanupuri. The house of four people including Junaid Babungari is in Fatikchhari upazila near Hathazari in Chittagong. Hefazat leaders and activists have started discussing and criticizing him for being related to the committee from the very beginning. Many are also calling this convening committee ‘Fatikchhari Committee’. Leaders of various Islamic political parties, including several allies of the 20-party alliance, were on the committee. Doubts have also been raised about the apolitical leadership in the process of forming the new committee. Apart from the dissolution of the central 201-member committee, the Dhaka Metropolitan Committee has also been declared dissolved. Multiple sources said that no one is seen active in Dhaka except the leaders of the previous committee.

Many pro-Shafi and inactive leaders say that despite pressure from the government and the administration, the power of the political sphere, including Jonaid Babungari, is trying to retain control of Hefazat. That is why they are keeping their own people in the committee. The Shafi’is are also trying hard to take control of Hefazat. There are also political leaders in the pro-Shafi group. Due to these reasons, the process of disbanding the custody committee could not create confidence in any party.

If you want to know the Assistant Finance Secretary of the newly formed committee. Ahsan told Kaler Kantha, “For the time being, a five-member convening committee (partial) has been formed. The scope of the convening committee will increase further. Scholars from different districts of the country will be kept. ‘He added,’ Already about 480-465 leaders and activists of our organization have been arrested. Among them there are about 32 central leaders. The issue of dissolving the committee was being discussed virtually for five-seven days. The committee has been dissolved with the opinion of the policy makers. ‘Another former central leader said the convening committee could have 50 members. This committee will form a new full committee through a conference at a convenient time.

Expressing displeasure over the new convening committee, former joint secretary general Maulana Moinuddin Ruhi said, “The new convening committee has become related. Most of Junaid Babungari’s relatives have been brought to the post. Four of the five are his relatives. I have already said that due to the lack of leadership, ideology and aimlessness in the last Central Committee of Hifazat-e-Islam, I feared that this car (the last committee of Hifazat-e-Islam) would be involved in an accident. Such is the condition of driverless cars. ‘

Are the followers of the founder Amir late Allama Shah Ahmad Shafi with it? In response to such a question, Moinuddin Ruhi said, “We have not been contacted in this regard. We want Hefazat-e-Islam Bangladesh to be governed by the principles and ideals of Allama Shah Ahmad Shafi. This will make the organization acceptable to all, regardless of party affiliation. ‘

Sources in the organization said the talks were between controversial and political leaders

Whether he will be expelled from the committee or not. Many leaders and activists of Hifazat-e-Islam have expressed anger and frustration over the dissolution of the two main committees. Many of them have been involved in lawsuits from the field. Many have been arrested. Again, many are in hiding to avoid arrest.

Meanwhile, several officers of the police detectives in Dhaka told Kaler Kantha on condition of anonymity that there are no new instructions regarding the case and investigation of the leaders of Hefazat-e-Islam. However, the initiative to dissolve the committee and close down politics at Qaumi Madrasa is being seen as positive. Considering the tactical move of Junaid Babungari’s regulated convening committee, it is being monitored whether Hefazat actually excludes politics. Sources said that if the amendment is taken, the police administration and various parties of the government will sit in discussion.

The way custody is under three pressures

Hefazat-e-Islam withdrew from anti-government activities at one stage despite the pressure of lawsuits and arrests for the sabotage incident at Shapla Chattar in 2013. Sometimes sabotage cases are stalled for several years. However, after the death of Allama Ahmad Shafi last year, the controversy over the leadership of Hefazat began. Then a controversy arose when some leaders including Junaid Babungari and Maulana Mamunul Haque spoke against the installation of Bangabandhu’s sculpture. A case was also filed against them for breaking the sculpture in Kushtia at that time. Hefazat carried out massive sabotage in various areas including Brahmanbaria, Chittagong, Dhaka and Narayanganj in the name of a program to oppose the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi last March. From the beginning of April, one case after another was filed and arrests of Hefazat leaders began. Meanwhile, 19 central leaders including Mamunul Haque have been arrested in Dhaka. The government declared Qawmi Madrasa a holiday. In such a situation, a delegation of Hefazat met with the Home Minister and police detectives last Monday demanding an end to arrests, opening of madrassas and several compromises. Although the Home Minister did not give them any assurance at that time, the police detectives demanded the formation of a new committee by removing the political leaders from the organization, stopping politics in Qawmi Madrasa and introducing a new system of management. Hefazat then contacted him but said that there would be no discussion without fulfilling the conditions. There are also ongoing arrests. The case of 2013 has been intensified. On the other hand, four people, including two Naib Amirs, have resigned in protest of the organisation’s activities since the beginning of April. A few more leaders have also announced that they may resign. In such a situation, the custody committee also came under pressure within the organization.

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