DHAKA: Bangladesh Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal has said that the government is moving to re-activate the investigation of 83 cases of Hefazat-e-Islam's terror activities in 2013.
In an exclusive interview with IANS on Tuesday night the Home Minister said: "Terrorism cases cannot be postponed for so long. Details of the cases are being checked. The government is determined to take strict action against the accused."
Police have filed chargesheets in only 15 of the 83 cases in the May 5, 2013 violence at Shapla Chattar in Motijheel.
Analysts have blamed the Hasina-led government's compromise with Hefazat for slowing down the proceedings, but police said it is too late to file charges because no witnesses are available.
Replying about the delay, Kamal said: "Yes, 7 years have passed for various reasons, which is a big mistake. The cases are being brought to light this time and according to the chargesheet, the government will take action against those who committed terrorism in 2013. "If there is any chance to compromise with this fanatic force, then the procedure to re-active the cases will be suppressed again."
In response to this question, the Home Minister said, "No, it will not be going to happen. Because the government has decided to take strict action against the terrorists."
Fanatics and anti-liberation forces leaders Junaid Babunagari and Mamunul Huq have announced that if a sculpture of Bangabandhu at Dholaipar in the capital is set up, it will be dragged down, which has led to controversies across the country.
There are sculptures in different Muslim countries, including Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Jordan and Pakistan, but no one talks about the sculptures there.
"A sculpture is a symbol of a country's history, tradition and bright memories and liberation war. Sculptures are found in almost every country in the world," said the ruling party workers and cultural activists.
The opposition parties and other political forces are silent on this issue. Progressives have vented anger on Hefazat-e-Islam Bangladesh Ameer Junaid Babunagari's statement that "if a sculpture of Bangabandhu is set up, it will be dragged down".
Islamic experts said that sculptures can be set up in the public interest. No one should think that a sculpture is a 'haram-halal' issue.
In seven districts, including the capital Dhaka, 83 cases were registered in 2013, alleging terrorism. According to the police headquarters, out of 83 cases, two cases were registered in Kalabagan police station in Dhaka, one in Ramna, one in Sher-e-Bangla Nagar police station, six in Bagerhat and five in Narayanganj.
Hefazat's central committee secretary general Junaid Babungari, Jamiat Ulamaye Islam secretary general Mufti Waqqas, BNP-Jamaat and some top leaders of several political parties were also arrested. However, they were later released on bail.
Seven years ago, in 2013, 64,096 people including Junaid Babunagari were convicted in 83 cases in five districts, including Dhaka. Of these, 53 cases were registered in the capital. Hefazat-e-Islam, Islami Oikyajot, Jamaat-e-Islami, Islami Chhatrashibir, Nezame Islam, Khilafat Majlish, Khilafat Andolan, Jamiat Ulamaye Islam, BNP and their young wing and students Juba Dal and Chhatra Dal central leaders and activists were accused in these cases.
Police have issued chargesheets in 15 cases. The accused in these cases have either been released on bail or have resumed their activities in public. Some of the accused did not even take bail.
Around 50,000 Hefazat activists and supporters took position at Shapla Chattar in Motijheel on May 5, 2013 after a blockade at six entrances to Dhaka. Earlier in the day, they clashed with police.
Top BNP leaders Moudud Ahmed, MK Anwar and Rafiqul Islam Mia were also arrested in connection with the May 5 killing of a policeman. (IANS)