The Police Bureau of Investigation (PBI) has found involvement of incumbent Hefazat-e-Islami chief Junaid Babunagari, along with 42 others, in ‘torturing to death’ his predecessor Shah Ahmad Shafi.
The specialised investigation agency on Monday submitted a probe report to the court in the case filed over the suspected murder of Ahmad Shafi, naming the 43, PBI Superintendent Nazmul Hasan confirmed.
Ahmad Shafi's brother-in-law Main Uddin filed the case with a Chattogram court in December, accusing 37 people, including Babunagari, of torturing the supreme leader of Hefazat to death.
The court directed the PBI to investigate the case and submit a report.
Ahmad Shafi, who was also a long-time director of Darul Ulum Moinul Islam, known as Hathazari Madrasa, died at the age of 97 on September 18 last year while undergoing treatment at a Dhaka hospital.
He felt ill during the days of a dispute over the leadership of Hefazat and control over Hathazari Madrasa, the country's largest Qawmi Madrasa.
PBI Superintendent Nazmul Hasan did not disclose names of other people in the probe report citing legal restriction.
Advocate Mohammad Hanif, the plaintiff's lawyer, said Ahmad Shafi was killed in a premeditated manner. “We mentioned in the case that 37 people were directly involved in this matter. But now the PBI has named 43 people.”
He said, "We’ve come to know that the accusation of killing Shafi Huzur through mental torture has been found to be true. We will examine the matter Tuesday and if there is anything objectionable in the report, we will inform the court.” Sources said PBI Inspector Munir Hossain, the investigator in the case, submitted the report to the court of Chattogram Senior Judicial Magistrate Shahidullah Kaiser.
A few days before Ahmad Shafi's death, the dispute over Hefazat-e-Islam and Hathazari Madrasa escalated. Opponents continue to demand that Shafi's son Maulana Anas be removed from the important post of Hathazari Madrasa. During the dispute, Ahmad Shafi stayed in his room in the madrasa for long hours and at one stage he fell ill.
The students started protest on September 16 to press their six-point charter of demands, including the removal of Shafi's son Anas from the post of teacher of Darul Ulum Hathazari Madrasa. Protesters locked all the gates of the madrasa. The rooms of some teachers, including Anas, were vandalised.
On 16 September Ahmad Shafi was first admitted to Chattogram Medical College Hospital and later to a private hospital in Dhaka where he died. After the death of Ahmad Shafi, Junaid Babunagari became the top leader of Hefazat.
Hefazat-e-Islami came to the discussion in 2013 through unrest at Shapla square in the capital against the Shahbagh movement.
The organisation has been accused of being involved in the recent unrest over the invitation of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the golden jubilee of independence.