May 16, 2021

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Hefazat committee declared dissolved

Hathazari Madrasa was surrounded by police and RAB from that evening
► Pro-Shafi leaders can come to important positions in the new committee
Hefazat-e-Islam has announced the dissolution of the Central Committee after being cornered in various controversial activities. Its Amir Maulana Junaid Babungari made the announcement in a video message on Facebook around 11pm on Sunday.

Babungari said, “Considering the current overall situation in the country, the Central Committee of Hefazat-e-Islam Bangladesh, the largest non-political organization in Southeast Asia, has been declared dissolved.” This decision has been taken in consultation with some important members of the Central Committee considering the overall situation in the country. Inshallah, the activities of Hefazat-e-Islam will start again in the future through the convening committee. ‘

Prior to the announcement, a meeting of senior central leaders of Hefazat was held at Hathazari Madrasa in Chittagong. A large number of RAB-police have cordoned off the madrasa since evening. At this time, there was a fear of an arrest operation. However, after the meeting was announced at night, the members of the law enforcement forces moved away from the madrasa.

Hefazat staged protests and violence in various parts of the country, including Brahmanbaria and Hathazari, against the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi late last month on the occasion of Bangabandhu’s birth centenary and the golden jubilee of independence. Hefazat’s joint secretary general Mamunul Haque, along with a woman, were recently blocked at a resort in Sonargaon, Narayanganj, after his supporters vandalized and blocked roads. After that, the government went to the hard line against the Hifazat leaders involved in sabotage. Meanwhile, several central leaders including Mamunul Haque have been arrested.

Meanwhile, the news of the meeting has also come out as Hefazat has tried to reach an understanding between the government and the administration at different levels. Last Monday, a delegation of Hefazat leaders met the Home Minister and Special Branch (SB) officials of the police and proposed a compromise to stop the arrests. During the discussion, Hefazat was given three conditions including the formation of a new committee by excluding political leaders including Mamunul Haque from the organization and the management of Qawmi Madrasa free from political control. After that, the deposed apolitical leaders became active and there were rumors of forming a new committee. Al-Hayatul Ulaya Lil-Jami’atil Qawmia Bangladesh, the highest body of Qawmi madrasas, announced yesterday that students and teachers at Qawmi madrasas will not be allowed to be involved in politics.

Babungari Press Secretary Maulana In’amul Hasan Farooqui confirmed the video message of the announcement of the dissolution of the Hefazat Committee. He said a meeting was held at Hathazari Madrasa before the announcement.

According to a source, Hefazat has offered to sit down again from different stages after the negotiations were held last Monday. An attempt was made to hold a discussion in Dhaka yesterday as well. It has been strongly stated that there will be no meeting with Hefazat if the three main conditions are not met in these discussions. Till yesterday, more than 400 Hefazat leaders and activists across the country, including 19 central leaders, have been arrested in Dhaka. It is learned that the deposed Shafi leaders may come to the new committee. The convening committee also has instructions to exclude political leaders.

Incidentally, after the first committee in 2010, a 151-member committee was formed on 15 November 2020 with Junaid Babungari as its emir. Later this committee was increased to 201 members. After the death of Secretary General Nur Hossain Qasemi on December 13 last year, Naib Amir Maulana Nurul Islam Jihadi was given the responsibility of Secretary General.

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