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B'desh Home Min meets Hefazat chief, says no role in militants' release

IANS | July 06, 2021 11:48 AM

DHAKA: Bangladesh Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal met Hefazat-e-Islam leaders including outfit chief Junaid Babunagari on Monday but told them that he has no role in release of arrested militants as the judicial process is underway.

Babungari entered the minister's Dhanmondi residence along with Hefazat Secretary General Nurul Islam Jihadi, Khadem Naeem Junaid and Shafi Ahmed around 8.30 p.m. and they came out at 10.30 p.m. but avoided the waiting media.

Several senior police and intelligence officials were present at the meeting. As soon as the militant leaders left, several law enforcement and intelligence officials were seen leaving the house.

Several Hefazat leaders said that they had repeated their usual demands, including release of their arrested members and reopening of the Qawmi Madrasa, at the meeting. However, the minister said that the intelligence agencies are investigating the sabotage cases, which are pending before the judiciary, and he does not have any role.

Hefazat leaders had earlier met the minister on April 19 and on May 4 in wake of the crackdown after its members staged riots in Chittagong, Narayanganj, Dhaka and other places from March 26 to 30 to protest Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit on the golden jubilee of Bangladesh's independence.

Police then launched an operation to arrest the outfit's leaders, and exposed the conspiracy that they were carrying out a large-scale sabotage plan, the ultimate goal of which was to seize state power. Babunagari's personal assistant In'amul Hasan Farooqui also confessed that the plan was to oust the Sheikh Hasina government.

During the police operation, the Hefazat's committee was dissolved and a new one formed.

At least 50 Hefazat activists have recently been arrested by the Dhaka Metropolitan Police.

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