Detained Ansar al-Islam member plotting attack on Chattogram book fair, police say

| Updated: March 04, 2022 11:03:15

Detained Ansar al-Islam member plotting attack on Chattogram book fair, police say

A man arrested by the police's Counter Terrorism Unit at the Chattogram book fair is a member of the banned militant outfit ‘Ansar al-Islam’, who was planning to carry out an attack on the venue, according to the law enforcement agency.

The arrestee has been identified as Md Rumel, 22, a native of Narshingdi’s Belabo Upazila. He works at a factory and lives in the port city’s Chandgaon area, reports bdnews24.com

The anti-terrorism unit apprehended Rumel from the book fair premises next to the gymnasium of MA Aziz Stadium on Monday. His identity was not revealed at the time.

“Law enforcers have recovered several leaflets and materials containing extremist propaganda from Rumel. He has admitted to his involvement with the militant outfit [Ansar al-Islam] during interrogation,” said Ahmed Peyar, additional deputy commissioner of the Chattogram Counter Terrorism Unit, on Wednesday.

Rumel was handed over to the police after a case under the Anti-Terrorism Act was filed against him with the Kotwali Police Station, he added.

Law enforcers also recovered leaflets opposing the commemoration of language martyrs at Shaheed Minar from him.

He was supposed to be joined by a few more accomplices to instigate an attack before his arrest, according to the case dossier.

“The militants aspire to topple the democratically-elected government and build an Islamic nation. They keep contact between their members using unknown apps.”

Police had detained another 20-year-old youth along with Rumel. But he was freed after interrogation as his ties to the militant group could not be established, Kotwali Police Station chief Nezam Uddin said.

Chattogram Mayor M Rezaul Karim Chowdhury had said on Sunday that books propagating the ideology of fundamentalism and militancy would have no place at the fair.

The application form for stalls at the fair also mentioned that measures would be taken to deal with any allegation that anti-independence, anti-Liberation War and pirated books were on sale.

But a militant group took to social media to urge people to boycott the fair, circulating a rumour that the authorities were banning the sales of Islamic books.

“It wasn't mentioned anywhere that Islamic books couldn't be sold at the fair. However, books that spread militant propaganda among people won't be allowed,” Chowdhury explained afterwards.

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