Qawmi madrasa-based Islamist organisation Hefajat-e-Islam, which was established as a non-political organisation, now seems to have become a political body, mainly affiliated to the anti-liberation forces Jamaat-e-Islami.
All the top ranking leaders in the new committee have been chosen from the allies in the BNP-Jamaat led alliance, including Jamaat, Jamiyat-e-Ulama-e-Islam and Khelafat Mazlish.
Besides, the new leadership has been selected through a controversial council held on Sunday at Hathazari Madrasa in Chattogram keeping off all the followers of the organisation’s founder Ahmed Shafi and his successors.
The Hefajat-e-Islam was founded by Ahmed Shafi in 2010. He was the Director of Hathazari Madrasa. He died on September 18 this year. A day before his death, his son Anas Madani was forcibly excluded from the madrasa.
Meanwhile, a former leader of Islami Chhatra Shibir, Junaid Babunagari, who earlier was the secretary general of Hefajat-e-Islam, has been made the Amir of the 155-member new committee while Nur Hossain Kashemi, secretary general of Jamiyat-e Ulama-e-Islam, has been made its secretary general.
On the other hand, the new committee excluded almost all who were pro-Ahmed Shafi, including his son Moulana Anas Madani.
Apart from Anas Madani, Moulana Mainuddin Ruhi, joint secretary general of the former committee, Mufti Faizullah, founding joint-secretary general of former committee, Mufti Moulana Abul Hasnat Amini, nayeb-a-amir, Anas Madani, publicity secretary and Moulana Kolimullah and joint secretary general of former committee, were not included in the new committee.
Former state minister Mufti Muhammad Waqqas, a member of the advisory council of the Hefajat-e-Islam, termed the formation of the new committee undemocratic and unconstitutional. The former MP of the BNP-Jamaat alliance said that despite being a Naib Amir, he was not invited to the council.
He said, after the death of Ahmad Shafi, only the post of Amir was required to be filled up. According to the constitution, the approval of the executive committee is required to form a council. Instead, the previous committee was abolished and a new committee was formed, which is undemocratic.
He rejected the new committee and said a meeting commemorating Ahmed Shafi will be held on Saturday when they will decide the next course.
Besides, pro- Ahmed Shafi leaders also protested against the council and formation of the new committee of Hefazat-e-Islam. At a press conference at the capital’s Jatrabari on Sunday, Ahmed Shafi’s follower Moinuddin Ruhi, who was a joint secretary general of the dissolved Committee, said they did not accept the council. The press conference was held in the name of Hefazat.
“This committee is completely illegal as it did not follow organisation’s regulations”, said Mainuddin Ruhi.
Former Office Secretary of the Hefazat-e-Islam, Altaf Hossain, said what to do or not will be decided through discussions with representatives from all over the country. They are also thinking of forming a counter council and committee.
According to the new committee, it has 32 Naib-e-amirs, four joint secretary generals and 18 assistant secretary generals. Most of the leaders in the new committee have been chosen from different parties of the BNP-Jamaat led alliance.
He said Hefajat-e-Islam never had any top leader who had affiliations with any political party.
This is first the time that it accommodated a secretary general who is also secretary general of Jamiyat-a-Ulamaye Islam -- a component of the 20-party alliance led by BNP, he added.
Earlier on November 14, Mohammad Moinuddin, brother-in-law of late Ahmed Shafi, in a press conference demanded judicial probe into Shafi's death. He claimed that Mufti Harun Ezhar, Inamul Hasan, Meer Edris, Nasir Uddin Munir, in presence of Junayed Babunagari, played a role in the death.
He also had requested not to form any committee before the judicial enquiry.
Alleging that Hefajat, being a non-political entity, is sliding into the grip of the BNP-Jamaat, led by anti-Shafi elements, he urged his followers to come forward in resisting the force that is using Hefajat for political gains.
Moulana Mainuddin Ruhi, Moulana Sarwar, Moulana Ashraf Uddin and Moulana Osman Qasemi were present, among others, in the press conference.