Hefajat Mayhem 2013: Govt moves to resume probe | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 05, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:44 AM, December 05, 2020

Hefajat Mayhem 2013: Govt moves to resume probe

83 cases filed against more than 87,000 people pending for 7 years

The government is resuming the long-stalled investigations into 62 cases filed over the mayhem by thousands of Hefajat activists in the capital and elsewhere in May 2013.

The move comes amid threats by Hefajat-e-Islam leaders of pulling down all sculptures in the country.

"The cases remained pending for quite a long time. We have to finish them," Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal told The Daily Star on Thursday.

He added that it was a routine process and no special instruction had been issued.

The cases have to be disposed of, he said, adding that either a final report or charge sheet has to be submitted to the court court concerned.

Hefajat Amir Junayed Babunagari has recently said a sculpture of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman planned for the capital's Dholaikhal will be pulled down.

On Thursday, a section of Islamic clerics, mostly Hefajat leaders, issued a "fatwa" (religious edict), saying that an idol or sculpture of any person or animal was forbidden in Islam.

Multiple Hefajat leaders' comments about the sculpture of the Father of the Nation sparked strong protests by the ruling Awami League, its front organisations, several socio-cultural organisations and individuals.

On May 5, 2013, thousands of members of Hefajat, a Qawmi madrasa-based Islamist organisation, clashed with law enforcers and ruling Awami League men, turning Motijheel and Paltan areas into a battlefield.

They set fire to hundreds of shops, vehicles and police outposts and looted stores, including those with Islamic books. Clashes also took place in different other districts in the following couple of days.

A total of 83 cases were filed in seven districts including in Dhaka, accusing 3,416 named and 84,796 unnamed people. Many of the accused were from the Hefajat, the Jamaat-e-Islam and the BNP.

Only one of the cases has been disposed of, in Bagerhat. All the accused were acquitted as neither the police nor the prosecutors could prove them guilty of the charges of attempted murder, arson and vandalism, officials said.

Police have pressed charges in 18, and gave final reports in two other cases. Investigations of the 62 have been stalled.

Several police officials requesting anonymity said the government's lack of interest in moving forward with the cases was a reason why the investigations went into hibernation.

Asked for comment, Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said, "Police had many pending tasks which they had to prioritise to finish.

"Now they will gradually complete investigation of the cases."

Fifty-three of the cases, including seven for murder, were recorded in the capital against more than 50,000 people.

DMP Additional Commissioner (DB) AKM Hafiz Akhter said the investigation of any of the cases might pick up the pace any time. "We are investigating. Nothing can be disclosed now," he added.

Mahbub Alam, joint commissioner of DMP DB, said they are looking into whether any of the accused of those cases are among those involved in "different movements".

As police and other security forces flushed out several thousand Hefajat men from the capital's Shapla Chattar at the dead of the night on May 5, they clashed with law enforcers at different places while returning home.

At least 30 more cases were filed in Narayanganj, Dhaka, Bagerhat, Barisal and Chattogram on May 6 and the following couple of days over the fierce clashes.

The police, government officials, relatives of the victims, Islamic leaders, businessmen, shop owners, employees of different offices and political parties filed the cases.

Hefajat leader Junaid Babunagari, the main accused in the sub-inspector Shahjahan murder case, was arrested on May 6, 2013. He secured bail on May 29 that year on health grounds. He has been on bail since then.

Shahjahan was killed during a clash between Hefajat men and law enforcers in Motijheel.

Although Hefajat claimed that 2,000 of its leaders and activists were killed in the incident, the government put the death toll at 13, including three policemen.

The Hefajat could not provide names and addresses of its men who it claimed to have been killed.


Stay updated on the go with The Daily Star Android & iOS News App. Click here to download it for your device.

Type START <space> BR and send SMS it to 22222

Type START <space> BR and send SMS it to 2222

Type START <space> BR and send SMS it to 2225

Leave your comments

Top News

Top News