Oct 28 Violence at Paltan |
Hasina, Nizami, their top leaders charged
AL chief's name was added although Jamaat complaint did not mention her
Chaitanya Chandra Halder
Police yesterday charged Awami League chief Sheikh Hasina, Jammat Chief Matiur Rahman Nizami and more than 50 top level leaders and workers with murder and other serious offences committed during street demonstrations on October 28 last year.
In a case brought by Jamaat immediately after the incident, Hasina was not mentioned. However, her name has now been added by the police.
Other than Hasina, 45 leaders and workers of her party and 14-party have been charged. They include AL General Secretary Abdul Jalil, former home minister Mohammad Nasim, General Secretary of AL Dhaka city unit Mofazzel Hossain Chowdhury Maya, AL Law Secretary Advocate Sahara Khatun, former AL lawmakers Dr HBM Iqbal and Haji Selim, Jubo League President Jahangir Kabir Nanok, Chhattra League General Secretary Mofazzal Haider Chowdhury Roton, Workers Party President Rashed Khan Menon, and JSD President Hasanul Haque Inu.
In Jamaat, 9 leaders and workers other than Nizami face similar accusations. They are former minister and Jamaat Secretary General Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid, Senior Secretary General of Jamaat Quamaruzzaman, Central Nayabe Amir Mokbul Ahmed, Assistant Secretary General ATM Azharul Islam, Dhaka City Unit Amir of Jamaat Rafikul Islam, Paltan Unit Amir ATM Sirajul Islam, Islami Chhattra Shibir President Shafikul Islam Masud and its General Secretary Zahid Hossain, and President of Dhaka University Unit of Chhattra Shibir Shishir Monir.
Although the violence took place over five months ago, the charge sheet against Hasina, also a former prime minister, came just three days into the filing of an extortion case against her, which AL dubbed as a 'conspiracy to tarnish her image'.
Investigators submitted the charge sheets in both cases to the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's Court in Dhaka showing 91 people as prosecution witnesses.
Metropolitan Magistrate Mir Ali Reza yesterday fixed April 22 for the hearings on the acceptability of the charge sheets. The court will also decide whether arrest warrants will be issued against Hasina and two other accused -- Mohammad Nasim and Kiron alias Abdul Malek -- and whether their properties will be confiscated.
Prior to the takeover of power by the caretaker government on October 28, seven people were killed in a fierce clash between activists of AL-led 14-party coalition and Jamaat-e-Islami in Paltan area. A day later Workers Party and Jamaat filed separate cases in connection with the same incident with Paltan police station.
In the case filed by Jamaat, complainant ATM Sirajul Islam, amir of the Paltan unit of the Islamist party, mentioned that on directives from AL General Secretary Abdul Jalil, Workers Party President Rashed Khan Menon, and Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal President Hasanul Haque Inu the other accused killed five Jamaat activists and injured several others.
In the first information report (FIR) however the complainant had not named Hasina as an accused but the charge sheet had the AL chief as an accused, who had just been sued on Monday in connection with an extortion of TK 3 crore. Hasina, who is now in the US, expressed her determination to return home much earlier than scheduled to fight the extortion case.
The investigation officer (IO) put Hasina's name at no 31 on the list of 46 accused as he claimed that the AL chief had been found to be involved in the incident.
At the very end of BNP-Jamaat-led alliance government's rule, Hasina called her party activists to march to Dhaka with oars and sticks to take control of the streets of the capital. Following her call, her party activists gathered in the city sparking the violence of October 28, the charge sheet said.
In the charge sheet, Hasina and AL leader Mohammad Nasim, who is now in jail, and another AL activist were shown as fugitives. The IO requested the court to issue arrest warrants against the accused 'fugitives' and to confiscate their movable and immovable properties.
Interestingly again, police dropped from the charge sheet the names of 16 accused which had been on the FIR including the names of AL presidium members Abdur Razzak and Tofail Ahmed as the allegations brought against them by the complainant had been found to be false.
The 45 persons who were charged along with the AL chief include AL General Secretary Abdul Jalil, former home minister Mohammad Nasim, General Secretary of Dhaka City AL
Among the accused, Roymohon Shil, Omar Faruk, and Suman are now in jail custody in connection with the case.
The accused who were granted bail earlier by the High Court are Jalil, Maya, Nanok, Ashraf Hossain Talukder, Siddiq Najmul Azam, Rasel, Mojibur Hossain, Belayet Hossain, Abu Sayed, Bashir Ahmed, Shahriar, Jahangir Alam, Roton, Sheikh Mostainbillah, and Mukul.
The charges brought against Hasina and her colleagues are for unlawful assembly, inflicting injuries ranging from minor to grievous on people, murder, attempt to murder, and for aiding and abetting criminal activities.
CASE AGAINST JAMAAT
The IO of the case, AKM Idris Hossain, sub-inspector of the Detective Branch of police, pressed charges against 10 Jamaat-e-Islami and Islami Chhatra Shibir leaders for the killing of a Workers Party activist Rasel Ahmed Khan.
On October 28 last year, activists of Jamaat and its student front Chhattra Shibir gathered in front the north gate of Baitul Mukarram and launched an attack on AL-led 14-party coalition activists while they were passing through the area. The attack sparked a fierce battle between the rival political activists. During the battle, Shibir activists were found shooting bullets from firearms.
Their rivals also reportedly launched a counter attack with oars and sticks.
In connection with the case filed by Workers Party leader Kamrul Ahsan, charges were brought against the accused for unlawful assembly, inflicting injuries on people, murder, and for aiding and abetting criminal activities.
The accused are former minister and Jamaat Amir Matiur Rahman Nizami, former minister and Jamaat Secretary General Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid, Senior Secretary General of Jamaat Quamaruzzaman, Central Nayabe Amir Mokbul Ahmed, Assistant Secretary General ATM Azharul Islam, Dhaka City Unit Amir of Jamaat Rafikul Islam, Paltan Unit Amir ATM Sirajul Islam, Islami Chhattra Shibir President Shafikul Islam Masud and its General Secretary Zahid Hossain, and President of Dhaka University Unit of Chhattra Shibir Shishir Monir.
Among the accused, only the name of Zahid Hossain had not been in the FIR, but his involvement was found during the investigation.
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A file photo of political violence in the capital on October 28 last that left several people killed and hundreds injured. PHOTO: Star File Photo