No significant progress in Hefazat violence casesM H Maswood
There has been no significant progress in the investigation of the cases filed against several thousand Hefazat-e-Islam activists three months after the violence during their siege of Dhaka on May 5 with the police still trying to unearth the masterminds.
The inspector general of police, Hassan Mahmood Khandker, told New Age that they were yet to ‘unearth’ the masterminds of the violence that took place during the Hefazat programme on May 5.
Investigation officers told New Age that they were looking into the cases but were waiting for ‘direction’ from their higher authorities to gear up their work as the cases were sensational.
Hassan Mahmood, however, said that these were regular criminal cases. The investigations will follow due process, he said.
At least 41 cases were filed with three police stations in the capital against several thousand Hefazat activists on charges including murder, arson, illegal rallies, attacks on government
officials, conspiracy to commit crimes during the Islamist group’s Dhaka siege programme on May 5.
Law enforcers arrested some 100 people in the cases, DMP deputy commissioner (media) Masudur Rahman said. They were yet to arrest or trace the masterminds.
Many of the accused in the cases are moving about in the capital in the presence of lawmen. They attended and held several programmes in public in the capital during Ramadan. law keepers are not arresting them as they ‘cannot find them.’
Hefazat activists are reported to have carried out violence and attacks at Motijheel, Baitul Mukarram, Paltan and the Dainik Bangla crossing causing huge losses to business establishments and of public property during their programme of Dhaka siege.
They also clashed with law enforcers that left around 24 people killed across the country. Law enforcers in a joint operation drove Hefazat men out of the capital at night on May 5, leaving at least 11 people dead.
Later, 32 cases were filed with the Paltan police, six with Motijheel and three with Ramna. The complainants of the cases were the police, Islamic Foundation, House Building Finance Corporation, National Sport Council, Janata Bank, Bangladesh Communist Party and Dhaka City Corporation.
Of the cases filed with the Paltan police, 200 named Hefazat leaders from across the country and some 30,000 unnamed people were made accused. But the police have so far arrested only 17 people.
Three of the six cases filed with the Motijheel police were transferred to the Detective Branch. But they also failed to make any progress in the investigation. The police have so far arrested Hefazat’s secretary general Junaid Babunagari, who later obtained bail.
With the Ramna police, some 9000 people, including 205 named, were made accused in three cases. But only 56 people have so far been arrested.
Paltan police subinspector Md Shahdidullah, also investigation officer of the three cases, told New Age, ‘These are sensational matters. If senior officials give us directions, we will proceed with the cases.’
Ramna police subinspector Abdur Rahim, also investigation officer of a case, made a similar comment. He said, ‘It is a matter of high officials. We contact with them [high officials] from time to time regarding the case.’
Hassan Mahmood told New Age, ‘Investigation is going on to unearth the truth. We will arrest anyone anyone found involved in the violence — Hefazat men or others .’
He said, ‘There is no political issue in the cases. These are regular criminal cases. Investigations are under way. Progress in the cases depends on investigations.’
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