This was the latest among several other attempts to reform the party, which too went in vein.
Sources of the Majlis-e-Shura, the highest policymaking body of Jamaat, confirmed this to our sister concern the Bangla Tribune.
Ataur, who was elected nayeb-e-ameer in December last year, was discharged from the position on February 5, only a few months after the party had elected Maqbul Ahmed new ameer (chief) of it and released its recently-amended constitution.
Maqbul is now being probed by the International Crimes Tribunal as allegations surfaced in the media that he was involved in wartime atrocities as a collaborator of Pakistani occupation forces during the 1971 Liberation War.
Ataur, former president of the Rajshahi University (RU) unit of pro-Jamaat student organisation Islami Chhatra Shibir, proposed handing Jamaat’s leadership over to the post-Liberation War generation with a view to purging the party of its wartime controversies, the sources added.
Several other leaders – mostly former leaders of RU unit Chhatra Shibir – raised the same demand. They had Ataur introduce the proposal as is known to be a vibrant and dedicated leader among his party fellows.
Also, they wanted to see Ataur as the party’s new ameer, according to party insiders.
As the reform proposal did not mention the other leaders’ names, only Ataur had to step down from the post.
On Saturday, senior nayeb-e-ameer Mujibur Rahman said Ataur had only been removed from his post, not expelled from the party.
When asked about different media reports on his expulsion, Mujibur brushed aside the reports, terming them “baseless”.
Echoing Mujibur, Majlis-e-Shura member Moulana Habibur Rahman said: “What is being spread in the media about his ‘expulsion’ is nothing but a conspiracy.”
However, a Dhaka city unit leader preferring to be anonymous said: “Ataur has immense contributions to the party. None will speak out against his ‘gaffes’.”
The former ameer of Rajshahi city unit Jamaat, Ataur, who claims to be a freedom fighter, was integrated into the central committee as many of the party's central leaders were hanged or sentenced to different terms in prison on charges of their wartime crimes.
Jamaat too termed Ataur a “freedom fighter” in an October 2016 press release protesting his arrest by detectives.
However, Rajshahi district unit Muktijoddha commander Farhad Ali said: “I did not see Ataur fight for the country. Also, his name is not on the list of the district’s freedom fighters who participated in the war against Pakistan.”
In 2010, Jamaat’s former assistant secretary general Muhammad Kamaruzzaman, who was executed in April 2015 for his crimes committed during the war, wrote from prison to his fellow party men, urging them to reform the party and reshuffle it with new faces. But the policymaking body took no heed of his proposal.
Kamaruzzaman’s son Hassan Iqbal said: “Jamaat’s history could have changed had the proposal been accepted.”
Former secretary general of Islami Chhatra Shibir Shishir Mohammad Manir and some other leaders were expelled from the organisation after he had proposed reforming Jamaat in 2010.
In 1982, the then Chhatra Shibir president Ahmed Abdul Qauder and secretary general Farid Ahmed were too pushed out of the organisation for the same reason.