Case filed by ‘evil quarter’ to destabilize country, Islamist group claims
The case filed over the death of Shah Ahmad Shafi is completely fabricated, according to the top brass of radical Islamist platform Hefazat-e-Islam Bangladesh.
In a joint press statement on Saturday, Hefazat leaders claimed the case was filed by an “evil quarter” with the aim of creating anarchy and destabilizing the country.
“Shafi’s death was natural and this is a settled issue. The death certificate issued by the hospital authorities also cited it as a natural death. Holding someone responsible for the death is tantamount to an outright lie,” said the statement.
“Shafi was a long-time rector of Al-Jamiatul Ahlia Darul Ulum Moinul Islam, also known as Hathazari Madrasa, and chief of Hefazat-e-Islam Bangladesh. He was a father figure for all the Qawmi seminaries of the country. It is now crystal clear that a vested quarter is trying to gain political mileage by filing a trumped-up case, when devout Muslims are deeply shocked at the sad demise of Shafi,” it added.
The statement further said the students at Hathazari Madrassa were compelled to wage a peaceful movement to press home legitimate demands due to the high-handedness of Anas Madani, younger son of Shafi. There was no provocation behind the student movement, but a vested quarter filed a case accusing 36 Alems three months after Shafi’s death.
The Hefazat leaders threatened to wage a tough movement if the case was not withdrawn immediately.
Shafi’s brother-in-law filed the murder case with a Chittagong court on December 17. Taking the case into cognizance, the court ordered the Police Bureau of Investigation (PBI) to investigate.
A total of 36 people, including Hefazat Central Joint Secretary General Mamunul Haque, were made accused in the murder case.
According to the case documents, Shafi was confined to Hathazari Madrasa during the student movement, despite his illness, and the accused vandalized his room.
The ambulance carrying Shafi was also obstructed, with In’amul Hasan Faruqi playing a key role. Shafi was mentally tortured and his oxygen mask was removed during the unrest at Hathazari Madrasa.
Shafi died while undergoing treatment at Asgar Ali Hospital in Dhaka on September 18.
Hefazat was formed in 2010 and came to prominence by mobilizing opposition to the Shahbagh Movement in early 2013. It was then that its leaders issued their now infamous 13-point charter, which included demands for the death penalty for atheists and certain restrictions on social gathering between men and women.