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Ghalib, 3 other Ahle Hadith leaders held

Thursday February 24 2005 10:16:40 AM BDT

Rajshahi :The police arrested Dr Asadullah al-Ghalib, a leader of the Ahle Hadith Movement Bangladesh, and three of his closest aides from the Rajshahi city early Wednesday, suspecting their involvement with Islamic militant organisations and sponsoring violence across the country.( The New Age BD )

Ghalib, a professor of Arabic at Rajshahi University, and his associates — ASM Azizullah of Satkhira, and Nurul Islam and Abdus Samad Salafi of Naodapara, Rajshahi — were arrested during a raid on the Ahle Hadith Movement Complex, the police said.

The four were sent to jail in the afternoon and will be produced in court on March 9.

Sources said the government had ordered the police to take a tough stance against Islamic militant organisations that are believed to be involved in recent grenade and bomb attacks, and also in gunrunning.

They said the foreign secretary, Shamsher Mobin Chowdhury, during his recent visit to the United States, had assured Washington of action against militants in Bangladesh.

Top police officials in Rajshahi said they had been closely watching activities of the Ahle Hadith Movement and their leaders, including Ghalib, after they had been informed of the organisation leaders’ links with militants by the superintendents of several northern districts.

The police superintendents reported that a number of suspected Jamaatul Mujaheedin activists, arrested recently in Natore, Bogra, Jaipurhat, Thakurgaon and Gaibandha, had claimed Ghalib to be their leader, the officials said.

Subsequently, the Shah Makhdum police officer-in-charge, Aslam Iqbal, filed a general diary against Ghalib.

At around 1:30am on Wednesday, a large contingent from the Rajpara, Shah Makhdum, Boalia and Motihar police stations, aided by members of the Detective Branch, cordoned off the Ahle Hadith Movement Complex.

At around 3:30am the police arrested Ghalib from his residence, adjacent to the complex; the three others were arrested from the complex. The four were sent to the court jail.

The police said ASM Azizullah, of village Baliadanga in Satkhira, was organising secretary of Juba Sangha, youth front of the Ahle Hadith Movement, and also working as a librarian at the Atrai Agrani Degree College at Mohanpur in Rajshahi.

Nurul is general secretary of the central committee of the Ahle Hadith Movement and a teacher at Gangni Degree College in Meherpur.

Salafi is principal of the Ahle Hadith Complex Madrassah and College at the Naodapara central office of the movement, five kilometres north off the Rajshahi city. He was in Saudi Arabia and his salary is also paid from the country, the police said.

They got together at the complex for the Tablighi Ijtema 2005, scheduled to be held at the Naodapara truck terminal on February 24 and 25. Around 1.25 lakh to 1.50 lakh supporters of the Ahle Hadith Movement from all over the country attends the congregation every year.

Tablighi Ijtema has been banned and the police dismantled the pandal and seized chairs, tables, stage and other materials at the ijtema venue. The police and Bangladesh Rifles personnel have been in the complex area.

The arrested were, meanwhile, produced in court of the metropolitan magistrate, Fazlul Karim Chowdhury, and the court ordered them to be sent to jail. Nobody prayed for Ghalib’s bail and remand.

During the hearing, the police appealed to the court to implicate them in four cases, including the Gabtali explosion case in Bogra and a murder case in Kotalipara of Gopalganj.

While submitting case documents to the court, the Shah Makhdum police officer-in-charge also appealed to the court that the case histories relating four persons and their organisation to the bomb and grenade attacks in Natore, Jaipurhat, Bogra, Dinajpur, Gaibandha and Chapainawabganj be considered.

But the court ordered that the four should be sent to jail on the basis of the general diary.

Sources said the police had conducted the raid Tuesday afternoon after the Rajshahi police commissioner had received an order from the home ministry to arrest Ghalib by the end of the day.

A number of corruption cases against Ghalib are pending in courts in Dhaka.

He was removed from the post of the president of the Towhid Trust and the director of the Hadith Foundation for misappropriation and corruption.

Sources said the charge d’affaires of the Kuwait embassy had gave Tk 17.61 lakh to the trust in 1992.

Ghalib received the cheque as the president of the trust, but did not deposit it with the trust fund.

The trust filed a case with the Dhaka chief metropolitan magistrates court on May 20, 2002. On the same day, another case was filed with the court against him on the charge of defalcation of about Tk 11 lakh.

The sources said Ghalib had been sanctioned a loan of Tk 10.75 lakh in two instalments for publication of his PhD thesis. He did not repay the money to the foundation.

In its investigation, a judicial probe committee found him guilty on both charges.

The Ahle Hadith Movement Bangladesh came into being on September 22, 1994 and its advisory council members were former Rajshahi Government College teacher Abdur Razzak, former Satkhira Government College professor Abdur Razzak and Jamalpur Asheque Mahmud College teacher Sekender Ali, insiders said.

Organisational sources said former Rajshahi University vice-chancellor, the late Dr MA Bari, first took an initiative in the 1960s to form such an organisation.

In 1978, Ghalib formed the youth forum of the organisation. He joined the Arabic department of Rajshahi University as a lecturer with the help of Bari in the mid-1980s.


The New Age BD

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