DHAKA: Jamaat leaders Moulana Matiur Rahman Nizami, Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed, Delwar Hossain Sayedee and Rafiqul Islam Khan were arrested Tuesday, hours after an arrest warrant was issued against the top brass of the Islamic party for allegedly hurting religious sentiments.
Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islam, immediate after the arrests in quick succession, announced countrywide demonstrations for Wednesday.
Party Nayeb-e-Ameer Maqbul Ahmed made the announcement at a press conference in the evening at the party central office at Magbazar.
Police picked up Jamaat-e-Islami Ameer Nizami from the National Press Club area while Secretary-General Mojaheed from in front of the National Mausoleum at Savar and Nayab-e Ameer Delwar from Shahinbag area in the city in a quick succession, Banglanews24.com.bd reporters report.
“Police halted Nizami’s car on his way back from a programme at the national Press Club. Shahbag Thana police arrested him at about 5 pm,” says a firsthand account of the arrest of the Jamaat chief.
Officer in Charge of Shahbag Thana Rezaul Islam told Banglanews24.com.bd, “Police arrested Matiur Rahman Nizami in a case against him for attacking religious sentiment of Muslims.”
Delwar was run in from Shahinbag area at about 5:30pm, reports BN senor correspondent Mannan Maruf.
In the simultaneous hunt, the law enforcers held Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed in front of the National Memorial at about 4: 45pm on his way to his hometown Faridpur and sent him to Ashulia Thana, reports Ashulia correspondent Jahidur Rahman.
The OC of Ashulia Thana, Sirajul Islam, confirmed the arrest of Mojaheed, a most influential leader in the BNP-led four-party alliance.
Ramna Thana OC Shibli Noman told Banglanews24.com.bd that a police team was sent to Ashulia to bring back Mojaheed to Dhaka.
Police arrested another accused, Rafiqul Islam Khan, in Mirpur area around 7.30 pm, said intelligence sources.
Besides, police also arrested four activists of Jamaat at Jatrabari while bringing out procession to protest the arrests. Another four in Sunamganj, two in Rangpur and one in Savar were also held in this connection.
On the other side of the political scenario, pro-government Chhatra League activists staged a rally to celebrate the arrest of the Jamaat leaders, as the ruling quarters seek their trial on charges of 1971 war crimes.
Earlier in the day, a Dhaka court issued the arrest warrant against the top Jamaat leaders in the case as the four failed to appear before the court as per its summons.
Justice Mehedi Hasan Talukdar of the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate court issued the arrest orders.
“Arrest warrants are being issued against them as they didn’t appear before the court today (Tuesday),” the court said.
Next August 3 was fixed for submitting arrest-related documents.
Secretary-general of Bangladesh Tarikat Federation Syed Rezaul Haque filed the case against five, including the Jamaat Amir and the secretary-general, on March 21 with the metropolitan magistrate court.
According to the case statement, Rafiqul Islam Khan at a discussion in the city on March 17 compared Nizami with Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), which “hurt the Muslims”.
The court, however, granted bail to another accused of the case, president of Dhaka Metropolitan Islami Chhatra Shibir ASM Yahia, as he surrendered and petitioned for bail earlier in the day.
BDST: 1819Hrs. June 29, 2010