Rab, at long last, has arrested Mufti Shafiqur Rahman, a former chief of banned militant outfit Huji-B, who dodged law enforcers for over a decade.
Shafiqur, also a founder of the outfit, was sentenced to death in a case filed over the 2001 Ramna Batamul carnage. Besides, he was sentenced to life in prison in the August 21 grenade attack case.
He had been hiding in a remote char in Narsingdhi since 2008 using the alias, Abdul Karim. He also managed to have a national ID card with the fake name, said a top Rab official at a press conference yesterday, a day after his arrest.
A team of Rab-2 picked up the 61-year-old from Kishoreganj’s Bhairab upazila during a drive on Thursday, said Khandaker Al Moin, director of Rab’s legal and media wing.
The Huji-B leader used to serve as an imam at a mosque in the char for a monthly salary of Tk 5,000. He also taught at a women’s madrasa in the locality.
Moin said the convict stopped communicating with his family members and relatives after going into hiding in Narsingdi in 2008. Before that, he had been staying at different places.
He, however, used to meet his son occasionally going far away from his hideout.
According to the Rab official, Shafiqur during primary interrogation admitted that he was not directly involved with the militant outfit now, but he used to make misleading and provocative speeches in the name of religion.
Moin further said the arrestee was one of the planners of the Ramna Batamul blasts.
Ten people were killed and dozens injured after two bombs went off during the celebrations of Bangla New Year, 1408 (on April 14, 2001).
In June 2014, a Dhaka court handed down death penalty to eight militants of Harkat-ul-Jihad Al Islami, Bangladesh (Huji-B), including Mufti Shafiqur and its top leader Mufti Abdul Hannan. Six other militants of the banned outfit were sentenced to life in prison.
The Rab director said Shafiqur is an Afghan War returnee. Coming back from Afghanistan, he along with other war returnees formed the Bangladesh chapter of Harkat-ul-Jihad Al Islami.
He served as the publicity secretary of the militant group between 1990 and 1993 and as the ameer (chief) from 1993 to 1996, Moin said.
Shafiqur was a member of Majlish-e-Shura of Huji-B from 1997 to 2003.