JMB's Rajshahi top leader captured |
Staff Correspondent, Rajshahi
Police yesterday arrested chief counsellor of Rajshahi zone Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) Lutfar Rahman in Bagmara upazila.
The arrest was made, following up the leads obtained from Ataur Rahman Sunny, the detained military commander of JMB.
A teacher of management at Mollah Azad Memorial Degree College in Atrai upazila of Naogaon, Lutfar had been evading arrest since Bangla Bhai went into hiding last year. He reportedly used his influence as a leader of the ruling coalition partner in averting for long the capture.
A team of Bagmara police arrested him at Sikdari Market yesterday afternoon while he was returning home from the college.
Superintendent of Police in Rajshahi Abdullah Al Mahmood confirmed the news and said Lutfar will be implicated in the Mukul murder case.
As news of the arrest spread, local BNP and Jamaat leaders rushed to the Bagmara Police Station. They have been lobbying hard for his release, said witnesses.
Lutfar had often claimed to have secured the 'green signal from the government' so as to he not be arrested, locals told journalists on a number of occasions.
JMB Majlish-e Sura member and military chief Ataur Rahman Sunny had told the investigators in Dhaka that Lutfar was involved in the murder of Golam Rabbani Mukul during the heyday of Bangla Bhai's Jagrata Muslim Janata, Bangladesh (JMJB). He had adjudged Mukul as guilty in an arbitrary trial.
A leader of Bangladesh Chhatra League and a part-time journalist of Taherpur, Mukul was kidnapped from his house and tortured to death in public in Bagmara on April 11 last year.
Although Lutfar was known as a Jamaat leader in his locality and was seen taking part in different programmes of Jamaat, local chapter of the party has denied his affiliation with it.
Locals said he had also worked as a source for Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) in its drives against the outlaws in Rajshahi region.
"He has never been involved with us (Jamaat). He is known as a Jamaat man because all the people in Bagmara in fact belong to Jamaat out of their love and dedication for Islam", said Joint Secretary of Bagmara Jamaat Abdul Halim.
Lutfar led the march of several thousand armed JMB cadres in Rajshahi on May 23 last year. He addressed a number of wayside meetings and handed over memorandums to Rajshahi DC, SP and DIG after the march.
He also chaired several meetings attended by Bangla Bhai at Bagmara and Atrai.
According to sources, Jamaat leader Lutfar along with Jatragachhi Fazil Madrasa teacher Abdus Sattar, owner of Bhawaniganj Clinic Dr Abdul Bari and former outlaw leader Mahtab Khamaru had been aiding and abetting Bangla Bhai in JMJB's vigilante operations against Sarbaharas (outlawed parties) since April last year.
The drives led by JMB chief Abdur Rahman and Siddikul Islam Bangla Bhai from their camps at Bheti Siddikia Madrasa in Atrai and house of Ramjan Kaya in Bagmara left some 22 people dead and scores of others mimed.
The killings and tortures would usually be planned by Rahman, Bangla Bhai, Lutfar, Sattar and Bari and executed by Rahman's brother Sunny, his [Rahman] son-in-law Abdul Awal, Abu Isa Enamul, Sheikh Enamul Haque Moni, Bangla Bhai's nephew Shahid, Mustak, Omar Faruk and many others.
Bangla Bhai had passed a number of judgments at the 'courts' run by Lutfar, said locals adding that even if someone was pardoned, he had to join the JMB.
After the August 17 countrywide blasts, law enforcement agencies have listed some 300 people including Lutfar, Sattar Master, Mahtab Khamaru and Abul Member as involved with the militant outfits. But later the names of those mentioned above were dropped from the list reportedly on orders from the home ministry.
A Rab team picked up Khamaru on November 27, but released him within hours following diktat of a deputy minister and BNP high-ups.