Wednesday, February 17, 2010

RU syndicate member arrested over death

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Violence plotted in Dhaka; attackers' cell phone records show Jamaat connection

In a major turn of events in the Rajshahi University violence investigation, the Detective Branch of Police yesterday arrested a member of the university syndicate in connection with the murder of RU student Faruk Hossain.

Rajshahi Metropolitan Police Deputy Commissioner Sarder Nurul Amin said Siddik Hossain was arrested at Rajshahi Court area around 6:00pm yesterday. Siddik is the Rajshahi city Jamaat assistant general secretary and also the principal of Islamia College. He said arrested Shibir cadres revealed his name.

Meanwhile, three very high-ranking police personnel in Rajshahi told The Daily Star that Jamaat and Shibir leaders in Dhaka planned the February 9 attack on Chhatra League at Rajshahi University and the attackers were present at the public meeting of Jamaat Ameer Matiur Rahman Nizami in Rajshahi on February 7.

Sources say that investigators going through mobile phone call records of arrested Jamaat-Shibir cadres found they had made several calls to four Jamaat leaders, a pro-Jamaat Rajshahi University teacher and the college principal-slash-RU syndicate member during the attack.

The six are Rajshahi Jamaat Ameer Ataur Rahman, Rajshahi City Jamaat General Secretary Abul Kalam Azad, Katakhali municipality Jamaat Ameer Mazedur Rahman, Motihar unit Jamaat Ameer Abdus Salam, Rajshahi University Science Faculty Dean Prof Md Abul Hashem and Siddik Hossain.

They said these six people coordinated the attack locally at different Rajshahi University dormitories.

Three groups of Jamaat-Shibir men consisting nearly 1,000 cadres made the attack, police sources claimed.

Arrested Jamaat and Shibir leaders told police that Rajshahi University Shibir President Shamsul Alam Golap, General Secretary Mobarak Hossain and Rajshahi City Corporation Ward-26 Shibir President Hafizur Rahman led the three groups in the attack on Bangladesh Chhatra League activists.

Hafizur Rahman was found dead in Chapainawabganj a few days after the violence.

Golap, Mobarak and Hafizur were in regular contact with the six coordinators. This was revealed after investigators looked into their mobile phone call records.

The three police personnel in Rajshahi told this to The Daily Star after gleaning information from Rajshahi Jamaat Ameer Ataur Rahman and 45 others. Ataur and 17 others were sent to jail yesterday after their five-day remand ended.

According to investigators, Ataur during interrogation claimed that he went to bed around 12:00am on February 9 and he was not aware of anything until the next morning when TV bulletins said Faruk was killed.

When police produced his mobile phone call records of the night before him, Ataur turned pale and fell sick, forcing police to call in a doctor.

The records showed that he had over 30 calls with Golap, Mobarak and Hafizur between 12:00am and 6:00am. The attack was made between 1:30am and 3:30am.

The call records also had the phone numbers of some Jamaat-Shibir leaders of Dhaka, said police declining to give more details.

Ataur was being interrogated in the presence of a doctor following a court order, said police.

The February 9 violence led to the killing of Faruk Hossain, a mathematics student of Rajshahi University and an activist of Chhatra League Rajshahi University unit. At least 100 others were injured and four of them were maimed with their tendons cut by Shibir men.

Police sources said after Nizami's meeting, Shibir leaders on February 7 had a meeting in Islamia College of Binodpur and decided to go on with the plan to get vengeance on the murder of former RU Shibir general secretary Sharifuzzaman Nomani on March 13, 2009.

Around 200 Shibir cadres who went to Rajshahi from across the country to Nizami's meeting took part in the attack. They stayed at different students' messes around RU campus, police personnel said.

Shibir's primary target was Asaduzzaman but he escaped with critical injuries at Bangabandhu Hall. Even though Shibir never accused Asaduzzaman in the Nomani murder case, they hold him responsible for the murder, said police.

Meanwhile, police received Abdul Latif Hall Shibir unit president Hasmat Ali on another five-day remand Monday.

Police arrested seven more yesterday in connection with the February 9 violence. Among them Shibir cadre Abdul Gaffar was placed on a three-day remand.

Hasmat told police that Shibir never engages in any activity without Jamaat's knowledge and this standard was followed accordingly during the February 9 violence.

Police officials said they are digging for more information.

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