Vol. 4 Num 125 Sun. September 28, 2003  
Front Page

Hizbut chief remanded

Chief of the Islamic militant outfit Hizbut Touhid Bayezid Khan Panni told police yesterday his organisation is operating since 1995 and he is a close relative of a ruling BNP minister, police sources claimed.

Panni and three Hizbut operatives, arrested in connection with the bludgeoning to death of a man named Abdul Malek and injuring 10 others at Pagla in Narayanganj on Friday, were placed on a seven-day remand yesterday.

Police and members of intelligence agencies interrogated the arrestees -- Panni, his employee Alamgir, driver Rashed and Rakib -- at Fatullah Police Station.

Meanwhile, hundreds of locals brought out a procession at Pagla and held a rally in front of Pagla Bazar Mosque yesterday afternoon, demanding exemplary punishment of the killers of Malek.

A sedition case was first filed with Fatullah Police Station accusing Panni and 14 others. Later, it was turned into a murder case.

The accused in the case include Zahid, Sanullah Nuri, Mahmudul Hasan, Hossain Selim, Mizanur Rahman, Syed Hossain, Jamal alias Kamal Sharif, Islamil, Mofazzal Mohammad Abbas and Saiful.

The complainant in the case said Panni sent his men to distribute leaflets among the people of Pagla area. His men were also distributing similar leaflets by his men in Gazipur and Madaripur, where also they made attacks on local people, the complaint added.

"We preach our ideology through our leaflets," Panni told journalists at Fatullah Police Station yesterday. "If one is convinced we are right, one may follow us. We never force any one."

About the Pagla incident, Panni said, "I know nothing about it." He has over 200 supporters across the country, he added..

In reply to a question, he said his followers keep hammer and gul (tobacco powder) with them to protect themselves from attacks by others on some pretext.

Meanwhile, a book titled 'A Islam Islam Noi' written by Panni was banned during the Awami League rule.

Police said they are trying to find national and international links of Hizbut Touhid. They suspected the organisation gets foreign funding.

Earlier on May 5 this year, Hizbut Touhid operatives killed a man at Goournadi in Barisal. A Hizbut member was killed in Kushtia this month, police mantioned.

"The Hizbut Touhid men seem to be very much organised and trained to fight against their rivals," said Helal Uddin, superintendent of police (SP) of Narayanganj.