Senior leaders of Hefazat-e-Islam Bangladesh in a meeting with home minister Asaduzzaman Khan on Tuesday night placed four demands and requested him for not harassing and arresting leaders of the Islamist group.
This was second formal meeting since April 19 between the top officials the government and the group of Hefazat leaders, who claimed to be the followers of their late president Shah Ahmed Shafi, met the minister at his house on Sunday night.
The latest meeting lasted for three hours where state minister for religious affairs Faridul Haque Khan and senior Hefazar leaders discussed the current situation.
Hefazat convening committee member secretary Nurul Islam told New Age that they repeatedly placed the demands, including the release of their leaders and supporters from the jail, and the government even agreed, but that did not work.
‘We cannot force the government. We place our demands to the government as it agreed that the demands would be met. If the demands are met, we will be happy but if not, we have nothing to do,’ said Nurul Islam about the latest meeting.
An application submitted by Hefazat secretary general, Nurul Islam to home minister requested the government to release the leaders and activists who had taken part in the recent Hefazat-led movement.
Earlier, Hefazat denied its involvement in the protest against the visit of Indian prime minister Narendra Modi in Bangladesh on March 26 to 27. At least 17 people were killed during the demonstration and 151 cases were filed so far.
At least 1,045 people were arrested following the anti-Modi protest mostly in Brahmanbaria, Narayanganj, Dhaka and Chattogram.
Hefazat also asked the government to relieve Islamic scholars and devoted Muslims especially in Chattogram and Brahmanbaria from arrest and harassment.
It also called the government to withdraw cases filed in 2013 against Hefazat leaders as per previous discussion.
They also demanded the resumption of qaumi madrassas.
Hefazat leader Nurul Islam said they had made similar demand.
Asked about the faction who met the minister, he said they were not willing to see who else were doing what.
Former Hefazat leaders Faizullah and Mainuddin Ruhi met the minister on Sunday.
Mainuddin told New Age that their leadership was snatched away from Hefazat and they wanted to follow guidance of late Hefazat chief Shah Ahmed Shafi.
Home minister Asaduzzaman Khan could not be reached for comment on this issue.
But, later in the day, the Dhaka Metropolitan Police’s additional commissioner (Detective Branch) Hafiz Akhter said those did not have any connection with the violence would not be harassed.
The Chattogram police Detective Branch team arrested the Hefazat publicity secretary Jakaria Noman Fayzi from Chokoria in Chattogram on Wednesday.
The Dhaka court correspondent, meanwhile, reported on Wednesday that two separate Dhaka metropolitan magistrate courts remanded Ataullah Amin, assistant secretary general of the now dissolved Hefazat central unit and joint secretary general of the Bangladesh Khilafah Majlis, in separate cases filed with Raman and Shahbagh police stations in 2013.
Dhaka metropolitan magistrate Debbabrata Biswas granted the remand in custody.
Another metropolitan magistrate, Shahinur Rahman, on Wednesday remanded Shakhawat Hossain Razi, the dissolved Hefazat’s central unit assistant secretary general, for six days in the two cases of Motijheel and Paltan police stations in 2013.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Politics