Tuesday 21 September 2021, 10:41 PM
Bangladesh Islamists regroup following Sheikh Hasina's crackdown after Modi visit
By Mahua Venkatesh | Bharat Defence Kavach | Publish Date: 4/28/2021 12:51:40 PM
Bangladesh Islamists regroup following Sheikh Hasina's crackdown after Modi visit

New Delhi: The radical Hefazat-e-Islam (HeI), after dissolving the 249 member central committee on Sunday, announced setting up of a five-member convening team. Muhibullah Babunagri – uncle of Ameer Junayed Babunagri, who has been at the helm of the organisation – has been named the chief adviser of the convening committee.

The reorganisation of the outfit's top committee will pose fresh challenges to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who has been fighting the hydra-headed radical elements in the country.The new five-member committee also comprises Junayed Babunagri, Secretary General Nurul Islam and Salauddin Nanupuri and Prof Mizanur Rahman Chowdhury. Nurul Islam has said that the full convening committee will be put in place soon.

What has come as a surprise to many is that Junayed, in a Facebook video message, on Sunday said that central committee of HeI was being dissolved keeping in mind the overall situation in the country.In the last few weeks, the Hasina government has come down heavily on the HeI leaders.

About 19 of its important leaders including those in the top rung like Mamunul Haque, Rafiqul Islam Madani --known as "shishu bokta" -- and Junaid Al Habib have been arrested for their active role in carrying out violence in the country.

Besides, over 75 cases have been filed against the HeI leaders. The group has been accused of carrying large scale violence in the country last month, coinciding with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Dhaka.

The extremist outfit had also vehemently opposed the construction of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's statue saying it was anti-Islam. In fact, in a shocking incident a few miscreants had even vandalised an unfinished sculpture of the country's founding father.

What is HeI?

HeI, in 2019 demanded that the Bangladeshi government declare Ahmadi Muslims as non-Muslims. HeI members have also been putting pressure on Hasina for policy changes. Most notable among their demands was seeking a change in the curriculum in the country's educational curricula and "ensuring that religious minorities are edited out of Ministry of Education-approved textbooks," United States Commission on International Religious said.

The radical Islamist outfit, with Madrassa trained members, was formed just 10 years ago but it sprung into prominence in 2013 when it staged mass demonstrations demanding that Bangladesh adhere to a strict Islamic doctrine. "The Islamist organisation has a track record of training Imams, who are then funded to propagate their ideals in the Middle-east, the UK, US and other parts of the world," a study by Grid91, an organisation dealing with security consultancy, providing solutions to businesses in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka noted.

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