Leaders and activists of Hefajat-e-Islam are reportedly going unpunished for the recent vandalism and arson attacks carried out during their demonstrations across the country.
Sources said no stern action was taken yet against Hefajat activists and patrons who resorted to violence in Brahmanbaria, Chattogram, Dhaka and some other districts of the country.So far, police have filed a total of 43 cases in connection with the mayhem across the country, but no significant number of Hefajat leaders have been sued or arrested.
Hefajat-e-Islam took to the streets and allegedly carried out violence in a few days ago in protest against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Bangladesh.
Narendra Modi arrived in Dhaka on March 26 to attend the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the golden jubilee of Bangladesh’s independence.
Thousands of unruly Hefajat activists went on rampage, swooped on law enforcers, carried out arson attacks and vandalism and set fire to different government offices, schools and railway stations.
They also resorted to vandalism in some private and government establishments, including Zila Parishad building, municipality building, Police Lines, Industrial School, Land office, Alauddin Music Academy, Foirtala Bus Stand in Brahmanbaria. At least 12 activists of the religious fundamentalist group were killed and scores injured in clashes with law enforcers in different parts of the country.
Protesting against the killing of their activists, Hefajat also enforced a daylong countrywide hartal on March 28.Law enforcers warned that they would go for tough action against Hefajat for their recent mayhem. An initiative has also been taken to reinvestigate previous 66 cases filed against Hefajat on charges of violence.
Due to the instigation from Hefajat leaders, followers of the fundamentalist group indulged themselves in clashing with police and carrying out vandalism and arson attacks during the violent protests.
Police said 11 cases have been filed in Dhaka, eight in Brahmanbaria, seven each in Chattogram and Narayanganj, three in Kishoreganj, two each in Faridpur, Bhola and Habiganj and one in Moulvibazar.
Meantime, the authorities concerned have taken an initiative to submit charge sheets by re-investigating the previous cases against Hefajat leaders and activists in connection with the mayhem at capital’s Shapla Chattor on May 5, 2013.
Intelligence sources hinted they have evidence that there were Jamaat-e-Islam and Islami Chhatra Shibir’s provocation to the mayhem.
On Wednesday, Inspector General of Police Benazir Ahmed said those who are behind the violence unleashed by Hefajat-e-Islam would be brought to book.
“Those who launched the attack were named in the cases, but investigation will also reveal the names of instigators,” he said, adding the barbaric attack was an attempt to mar the golden jubilee celebrations.
Talking to the Daily Sun, intelligence sources said they have also found involvement of some political leaders.
“We have some phone call records and evidence of financial transactions that proved that there was also involvement of foreign intelligence,” an officer said on condition of anonymity.
On March 27, Hefazat-e-Islam activists attacked a Chattogram-bound train at Talshohor Rail Station in Brahmanbaria town during the Hefajat’s countrywide strike.
Train communications on Dhaka-Chattogram and Dhaka-Sylhet routes remained suspended since Sunday morning following the attack.
On March 18, several hundred supporters of Hefajat-e-Islam attacked, vandalised and looted at least 75 Hindu houses in Sunamganj's Noagaon village over a Facebook post.
Thirty-five houses were damaged badly and 40 more partially in the attack, said Md Jahangir Hossain, deputy commissioner of Sunamganj.
The attackers also vandalised several idols and looted valuables from the Hindu houses in the village under Shalla upazila, locals said, alleging that police were late in reaching the spot. Carrying homemade weapons, Hefajat supporters from villages adjacent to Shalla upazila started gathering at a bazar in Noagaon village around 9:00am and launched the attack about an hour later.
The mayhem continued for nearly an hour till police reached the spot at about 11:00am and brought the situation under control.
In Narayanganj, some students of Madaninagar Madrasah put a barricade on Dhaka-Chittagong highway by burning tyres from Sanarpar to Shimrail crossing, disrupting Dhaka’s road communications with Chattogram and Sylhet.
Some students of Al Jamiatul Ahlia Darul Ulum Moinul Islam Madrasah cut roads and created a number of holes on Chattogram-Khagrachhari highway early Sunday, disrupting communications on the road. In Sylhet, the activists of Hefajat-e-Islam brought out processions in different parts of the city after Fazr prayers. No long-route buses left the district in the morning.
In Dhaka, at least 50 people, including several journalists, were injured in a clash between Muslim devotees and police in Baitul Mukarram National Mosque area Friday afternoon.
Clashes erupted when police barred people from bringing out a procession after Jum’a prayers protesting the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.