The Hefazat leader under spotlight this time over his relationship with a woman
From controversial remarks over Bangabandhu's
sculpture to threatening the government, Hefazat-e-Islam bigwig Mamunul Haque has been making the headlines on and off.
The radical Islamist group’s joint secretary general is once again under the spotlight. This time, not for what he said, but over his secret affair.
On the afternoon of April 3, he was held at a resort in Narayanganj’s Sonargaon upazila with a woman who he claimed to be his second wife. He was found at the Royal Resort’s Room No. 501, which he had rented.
Sonargaon UNO and police officials went to the resort on hearing about the incident. Police said at the time Mamunul was not being detained or arrested and that they were trying to find out what happened.
Hours later, stick-wielding Hefazat supporters launched an attack on the resort. They vandalized it and took Mamunul from the police.
Videos circulated on social media showed Mamunul in altercation with locals after he was held in the resort.
He was heard saying that the woman was his second wife and that her name was Amena Tayeba.
However, it emerged later that Amena is his first wife and the woman at the resort was one Jannat Ara Jharna.
Mamunul later admitted on social media that he had not spoken the truth when he was being quizzed by the locals.
He, however, has been maintaining he had married Jharna two years ago, a claim which his organization Hefazat-e-Islam also backs, at least in public.
However, six days into the incident, Mamunul is yet to produce any official document or proof of his second marriage.
Despite appearing live on social media twice, Mamunul has not been seen in public since the incident. He, however, reportedly attended one or two meetings of Hefazat.
Mamunul has not returned to his Dhaka home following the Narayanganj incident, according to a person close to him.
The leadership of the radical group has rallied behind Mamunul in public, but according to insiders, they too are irked over the matter.
Meanwhile the group now fear law enforcers will crack down against its supporters following the Narayanganj scandal.
It fears arrests as the police started a violence case against Mamunul and several other leaders along with at least 2,000 unidentified people over the March 26 clash at Baitul Mukarram Mosque in Dhaka.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Deputy Commissioner (Motijheel division) Syed Nurul Islam said that the investigation was going on a full swing and that they were conducting raids to arrest the perpetrators.
Where is Mamunul?
Since the incident at the resort, no one has been able to say about the whereabouts of Mamunul.
He has not returned to his home in the capital’s Mohammadpur. But according to unconfirmed reports, Mamunul is staying at the Jamia Rahmania Arabia Madrasa, where he is a teacher.
A person, close to the Hefazat leader, said that Mamunul’s wife Amena left their Mohammadpur home with the children soon after the resort incident. She, however, returned later upon interventions by Mamunul’s family.
Jannat Ara Jharna, Mamunul’s “second wife,” is now staying at a flat at Dhaka’s Basila, the person said before adding that the Mamunul’s brothers and sisters were upset over the incident.
According to the person, Mamunul’s family was not aware of his second marriage until the Narayanganj incident.
Mamunul, who appeared live on Facebook twice since the incident, claimed that Jharna was his second wife, but did not provide any details or produce any official documents of the marriage.
Despite several attempts Mamunul's brother Mahfuzul Haque could not be reached for comments.
Leaked phone conversations
Several phone calls of Mamunul and other Hefazat leaders emerged on social media following the incident with the first as early as on the night of April 3, when the resort incident took place.
In the first phone call, Mamunul along with a police officer was heard speaking to a Hefazat leader named Enayet Ullah.
Enayet was heard telling the police officer that the woman with Mamunul was his second wife.
In a second phone conversation — between Enayet and an unidentified Hefazat leader — Enayet was heard saying that it was Mamunul who asked him to tell the police that he knew about marriage.
The other person was heard saying that he has already informed the organization’s top brass that the marriage took place two years ago.
Speaking to this correspondent, Enayet claimed that he was there when Mamunul married Jharna. He, however, could not remember the exact date.
According to Hefazat insiders, the whole “second marriage” thing is an effort to cover-up the scandal. The people, who are claiming to be aware or witnesses to the marriage, are lying, they say.
Mamunul has been in a relationship with Jharna, since she was married to one Shahidul Islam, a Hefazat activist whom Mamunul has described as a person close to him.
They got a divorce around three years ago, but Mamunul had an affair with Jharna while she was married, according to people familiar with the matter.
Jharna’s son Abdur Rahman also claimed it in a video message.
Following the divorce, she took a job at a beauty parlour in Dhaka, but lost her job when the pandemic unfolded.
Neither Jharna nor her son could not be reached for comments as their phones were switched off.
A source at police said they had questioned several people who were in regular contact with Mamunul and Jharna in an effort to find the truth.
One of Jharna’s acquaintances even claimed to be her former boyfriend, according to the source.
“She [Jharna] had special relations with many of her friends and she took money from them due to her financial problems. Her [financial] situation would have been way better if she was married to Mamunul,” the source quoted the acquaintance.