Friday, December 3, 2021

Bangladesh Hefazat-e-Islam Chief involved in the death of former Chief Ahmad Shafi- Police Enquiry

The Bangladesh police has found Chief of the hardline Islamist group of Hefazat-e-Islam Junaid Babungarai involved in the death of Ahmad Shafi who was the former chief of Hefazat and head of the largest madrasa of Bangladesh at Hathazari in Chattogram.

The Police Bureau of Investigation (PBI) filed its report to the local court at Chattogram in the alleged murder of the Ahmad Shafi on Monday. It has named 43 people including the current Chief of Hefazat-e-Islam Junaid Babungari for activities that led to the death of the founding chief of Hefazat Ahmad Shafi.

Ahmad Shafi died last year on Sept 18 at the age of 104. A case was filed in December alleging that the death of Ahmad Shafi was a ‘planned murder’. The local court ordered the Police Bureau of Investigation (PBI) to investigate the allegations and submit the report.

A section of the students of the Hathazari madrasa in Chattogram had staged a demonstration in September last year seeking removal of its head Ahmad Shafi and his sons from the management positions in the madrasa. There was vandalism in the madrasa during the agitation. Subsequently, Mohammad Shafi resigned on September 17. He fell sick and  was taken to the hospital in Chattogram and then to Dhaka where he died on Sept. 18.

Established in 2010, the Hefazat-e-Islam controls the largest number of madrasas running into thousands in Bangladesh. It came into prominence for its hardline Islamist demands during the 2013 Shahbagh protest movement in Dhaka. In its 13 point charter of demand in 2013, Hefazat-e-Islam had demanded anti blasphemy law with death penalty, ban on erecting sculptures, declaring Ahmadiyas as non-Muslims, restrictions on social gathering between men and women among others.

Hefazat-e-Islam has been accused of large scale violence in several parts of Bangladesh during the protests against the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Bangladesh last month.

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