Police arrest former Jamaat MP Shajahan over Hifazat violence

Saturday, 15 May 2021

Police have arrested Jamaat-e Islami leader and former MP Shajahan Chowdhury in Chattogram’s Hathazari over a case involving Hifazat-e Islam violence.

Shajahan was found to be involved in the violence that occurred at Hathazari for three days centring on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Bangladesh, said Abdullah Al Masum, superintendent of police (Special Branch) in Chattogram. The arrest was made on Friday night, bdnews24.com reports.

Hifazat activists were involved in extensive violence and vandalism in Hathazari around Modi’s visit in March, including an attack on the local police station.

Members of the Qawmi madrasa-based radical organisation were also involved in vandalism and arson of the offices of the assistant commissioner (land), and the Upazila Sadar land office.

Four people were killed in clashes with police at the time.

Roads from Chattogram to Khagrachhari were also blocked by Islamist activists between March 26 and March 28 in the midst of the violence. Similar violence took place in Brahmanbaria and Narayanganj.

On March 30, police filed a total of six cases over the violence, accusing several thousand unnamed suspects.

On April 22, nearly a month after the clashes, three separate cases were filed against Hifazat leader Junaid Babunagari and BNP leader Mir Helal. Police have since arrested several central Hifazat leaders.

Shajahan is a former chief of the Chattogram Metropolitan branch of Jamaat and a member of the group’s Central Majlish-e-Shura. He was elected a member of parliament from the Satkania-Lohagara seat during the BNP-Jamaat alliance government.

The Jamaat leader has been accused in nearly 20 cases related to violence at different times. He was previously arrested in 2018 for ‘instigation’ during the student road protest movement.