Rakibul Hasan Regan, who was sentenced to death in the Holey Artisan café attack case, yesterday claimed that he got the prayer cap with the IS logo from an unknown person on the crowded court premises on November 27, the day the verdict in the case was delivered.
“I don’t know the person who gave it to me,” responded Regan after Judge Md Majibur Rahman of the Anti-Terrorism Special Tribunal of Dhaka asked him about the cap.
The Neo JMB militant, an ultra-radical offshoot of banned militant outfit Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), was produced before the court along with six other accused in a case filed under the Anti-Terrorism Act.
The case was lodged following police action at a militant den in the capital’s Kalyanpur on July 26, 2016.
Replying to a query, Regan said he took the cap and wore it as it was inscribed with words of the Kalima, the declaration of Islamic faith.
Responding to another question, he said he himself gave a cap to Jahangir Hossain alias Rajib Gandhi, another death-row convict in the café attack case, court sources said.
Rajib was seen wearing a similar cap in the prison van on their way back to jail from the court on November 27.
Yesterday, police did not allow journalists in the courtroom amid outrage over the militant wearing the cap in court.
Meanwhile, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan yesterday said the militant wearing the IS cap was nothing alarming as they had always said this was their ideology, reports UNB.
“We’re always saying there’s no IS in our country and they’re homegrown militants. They always wanted to be connected to IS and it was even confirmed by the terror organisation itself,” he added.
Earlier, the prisons and the police authorities apparently traded blame over how the militants got the caps.
On November 28, in their primary probe, police found that the caps were brought from jail, while prisons officials on November 30 said the caps were handed over to the militants at the court.
Regan, Rajib, and five other militants were handed death penalty for their involvement in the 2016 café attack in the capital’s Gulshan, which left 22 people, including 17 foreigners, dead.
As soon as the court completed judgement delivery, Regan wore the cap inside the dock.
Apart from Regan, accused Salah Uddin Kamrun, Abdus Sabur Khan, Aslam Hossain Rash, Hadisur Rahman Sagor, Mamunur Rashid Ripon, and Shariful Islam Khaled were produced before the court in the Kalyanpur militant den case.
Two other accused -- Abdur Rouf Prodhan and Mufti Moulana Abul Kashem alias Boro Huzur -- are on bail.
Another accused Azadul Kabiraz alias Heartbeat is on the run.
The court directed the authorities to publish a wanted ad for Azadul within 10 working days and fixed December 19 for the next hearing.
On July 26, 2016, police stumbled on to a militant hideout where nine suspects were killed after a fierce gun battle. Regan was captured with injuries while he was trying to flee.
On April 10 this year, Inspector Jahangir Alam of Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime unit of police submitted a charge sheet before a Dhaka court against 10 suspects.