Case docket says he was directly involved in vandalizing a police vehicle and setting it on fire during the Shapla Chattar violence
Hefazat-e-Islam’s Organizing Secretary Maulana Azizul Haque Islamabadi has been remanded for seven days following his arrest in a case over the mayhem in Dhaka’s Motijheel eight years ago.
Detective Branch (DB) Deputy Commissioner Asaduzzaman Ripon said Azizul was arrested during a joint operation by DB and Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) in Chittagong’s Hathazari on Sunday. Soon after, he was sent to Dhaka.
Motijheel Division DB Inspector Kamrul Hasan Talukder produced him before Dhaka’s Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's Court on Monday afternoon.
Police had sought 10 days to further question Azizul, the spokesperson and a senior leader of the fundamentalist Islamist group. But Metropolitan Magistrate Devdas Chandra Adhikari granted seven days, according to officials at the court’s General Recording Office.
Prior to that, the central Hefazat leader was questioned at the Dhaka DB office over the 2013 unrest at Motijheel and some recent incidents involving Hefazat supporters.
Inspector Kamrul in his remand plea said that Azizul is the 157th accused in the case filed at Paltan police station over the mayhem carried out by Hefazat leaders and activists at Motijheel’s Shapla Chhattar in 2013.
A total of 194 people, including leaders and activists of Hefazat and BNP, were accused in this case.
According to the case docket, on May 5, 2013, Azizul along with activists of Hefazat, BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami had allegedly taken part in the vandalization of numerous properties in Motijheel, Fakirapool and Arambagh areas.
It says Azizul was directly involved in vandalizing a police vehicle and setting it on fire during the unrest.
On May 5, 2013, following a massive rally, Hefazat men clashed with law enforcers and Awami League activists, turning that part of the capital city into a warzone. They looted shops and torched police outposts, multiple vehicles and hundreds of shops.
Hefazat had claimed that 2,000 of its leaders and activists were killed in the clashes, but the government's official death toll stood at 13, including three policemen.
Following the rampage, more than 50 cases were filed at Paltan and Motijheel police stations on charges of murder and violence against hundreds of people, including Hefazat’s then secretary general Junaid Babunagari. Azizul was accused in at least four of them.
This is the first time a top Hefazat leader has been arrested since the recent alleged acts of sabotage, clashes, arsons and a nationwide general strike brought the Hathazari-based radical group into the spotlight again.
Zakaria Noman Faizi, the organisation's publicity secretary, on Monday claimed that Azizul was picked up after a meeting in Hathazari on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Atiqul Islam, the additional deputy commissioner of Dhaka DB Motijheel Division, told Bangla Tribune that Azizul will also be shown arrested in a case over recent violence carried out by Hefazat men and questioned.