Both Shahinoor Sultana and her eighteen-year-old daughter Abida Jannat Asma burst into tears when they embraced each other about three years after Asma left her residence in Cumilla and chose the path of religious fanaticism.
The memorable moment happened at a programme ‘on the way of new horizon’ at Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) headquarters in the capital where Asma along with other eight surrendered to the elite force after cutting off relations with the banned militant outfit, Ansar Al Islam.Expressing her feelings, Asma said in 2018, she got introduced with a youth on social networking site and fell in love with him. Later, they got married, but her family was in the dark about it. “After marriage, I found out that my husband was a militant. At one point, I also began follow his ideology. We went abroad and stayed there for six months. After coming back to our country, we had been in hiding for one and a half years.
“I suffered greatly after leaving my family members and relatives. At one stage, I could realise that the path I had chosen was not right. I was misled in the name of Islam. Later, I decided to surrender and contacted the elite force,” she said. She also requested her husband to return to normal life and urged everyone not to believe anybody blindly.
Shahinoor Sultana, mother of Asma, requested all parents to pay attention to their children so that none can lead them astray. Shawon Muntaha Ibne Shawkat, 34, son of Shawkatur Rahman of Sylhet, who was studying engineering at a reputed public university in the district and his wife Dr Nusrat Ali Juhi, 29, are among the nine people who returned to normal life.
Shawon said he first joined Hizbut Tahrir and later Ansar Al Islam in 2009. During 2009-2016, he was an active member of the outlawed outfit. “I left my residence (hijrat) and came back to the capital in 2016. Next year, I got married to Jui as per the decision of the radical outfit. In that year, I began to live in the capital and was in charge of the radical organisation. “We became detached due to the surveillance of law enforcement agencies. At one stage, I could realize my faults and decided to surrender,” he said.
He claimed that he did not take part in any acts of sabotage during his long militant life. Like them, Saifullah, 37, a madrasa student, Mohammad Hossain, 23, a mason by profession, Mohammad Saiful, 31, a student of National University, Abdullah Al-Mamun, 26, Saidur Rahman, 22, and Abdur Rahman Sohel, 28, a teacher, surrendered to the RAB after they broke off relations with JMB and Ansar Al Islam.