The banned radical Islamist outfit Hizb-ut Tahrir is taking advantage of the Rohingya crisis by exploiting popular sympathy to build support for itself.
The fundamentalist group has been secretly distributing leaflets in Cox’s Bazar and other parts of the country, highlighting the plight of the refugees, putting up posters and uploading photos of its rallies, all in an effort to gather support for the group.
Its activities have caught the attention of intelligence agencies, who have increased their vigilance in 12 Rohingya refugee camps from Teknaf to Chittagong.
An intelligence agency, in a recent report, said that the banned Islamist outfit has intensified its activity since August, when the influx of refugees began.
Parts of the report said: “The Hizb-ut Tahrir members are committing transgressions by using the excuse of helping the displaced and oppressed Rohingyas.
“They are trying to bolster their organization and bag more support from the masses by exploiting their emotion over the Rohingya crisis.”
Acting on their findings, the intelligence agency ordered its field-level personnel to increase vigilance over the activities of Hizb-ut Tahrir and track down the people linked to such offences.
Meanwhile, Ukhiya’s Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Md Nikaruzzaman claimed to have found no such activity of the banned outfit at the refugee camps.
He refuted the allegations saying: “Some Islamic groups like Hefazat-e-Islam and the followers of Charmonai Pir have been assisting the Rohingya from the very beginning of the ongoing crisis.
The Hizb-ut Tahrir members are committing transgressions by using the excuse of helping the displaced and oppressed Rohingyas
“We are are keeping an eye on them so they can not misguide the displaced people,” he added.
Zahid Hossain Siddique, the UNO of Teknaf, seconded Nikaruzzaman’s statement, saying: “The camp authorities and the law enforcers are strictly monitoring the activities of Islamic groups who are providing aid to the Rohingya refugees.”
The leaflets said that by establishing Khilafah Rashidah (the rightly guided Caliphate) and expanding Arakan (Rakhine state) to reinstate it as a Khilafah State is the only way to liberate the Muslims in Myanmar from the clutches of the imperialist Kafir-Mushrik (atheists-idol worshipers) states led by the US, India and China.
The leaflets blamed Sheikh Hasina for her “late” humanitarian response to allow the Rohingyas to enter Bangladesh and criticised her diplomatic role.
Hizb-ut Tahrir, in their propaganda campaign, is also inciting a military response, saying: “We believe that the Rohingya issue has to be settled through a befitting military response, not by negotiating with such a criminal state.”
The posters pasted in parts of Chittagong, Cox’s Bazar and other major cities called on “fellow Muslims” to unite and ask “devoted army officers” to topple the ruling Awami League-led government.
When contacted, CMP’s Deputy Commissioner (Detective Branch) Md Shahidullah said: “The CMP commissioner has asked all the police stations under his jurisdiction to look into the matter.”