Nurul Islam Marzan, one of the purported brains behind the Jul 1 terror attack in Dhaka, was involved with the Chittagong University unit of Islami Chhatra Shibir, authorities say.
They also say the Arabic department student had gone missing after sitting the sixth test of second-year final in February last year. He did not take readmission.
Proctor Ali Asgar Chowdhury says they had found out about Marzan’s involvement with the Jamaat-e-Islami’s student wing after inspecting some laptops confiscated during a police raid on a dormitory in November last year and some documents belonging to Shibir.
“After checking those documents, police have said Nurul Islam Marzan was ‘friend’ of Shibir,” Chowdhury told bdnews24.com on Tuesday.
Vice-Chancellor Prof Iftekhar Uddin Chowdhury said they identified Marzan as a former student after seeing his photo in the media and crosschecking them with his certificates and photo in university documents.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police’s counter-terrorism unit is investigating the case started over the killings of 20 hostages, including 17 foreigners, and two police officers in the July 1-2 attack on Holey Artisan Bakery and O’ Kitchen at Dhaka’s diplomatic district Gulshan.
After identifying Marzan as ‘one of the masterminds’ of the attack and releasing his photo last Friday, the unit’s chief Monirul Islam said this youth had disseminated the photos and messages sent by the militants from inside the upscale eatery.
The counter-terrorism unit says Canadian-Bangladeshi Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury had planned the attack.
Inspector General of Police AKM Shahidul Hoque recently also said Tamim leads ‘Neo-JMB’, a new faction of the banned militant outfit Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB).
Chittagong University authorities recently had submitted a list of six students of different departments who had been skipping classes after police sought it following the Gulshan cafe attack. All the six absentee students were later found.
But Marzan was not on that list, as the Arabic department did not give its list of missing students.
VC Iftekhar Uddin on Tuesday told bdnews24.com that Marzan disappeared after taking the sixth test of second-year final held on Feb 14, 2015.
“He is not a student of Chittagong University anymore as he didn’t take readmission in the third year.”
Marzan, son of Nizam Uddin of Pabna, had enrolled in CU in the 2012-2013 sessions for a bachelor’s with Honours degree after passing Dakhil and Alim exams from Pabna Alyia Madrasa.
The family said Marzan did not contact them in the past eight months after getting married.
Apart from Marzan, Naimur Rahman Nayan, one of the three students of the public university who was arrested in December last year from the port city, was also tied to Shibir, police had said.
They had identified the three as associates of JMB leader ‘Fardin’ who died while making bombs in Bogra earlier.
Faizullah Fahim who was caught by locals while trying to flee after hacking a college teacher in Madaripur in June, was also a Shibir activist, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had said.
Fahim was later killed in a so-called shootout between his alleged associates and police.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal also recently said the Jamaat and Shibir had been involved in all the recent militant attacks and murders in Bangladesh.
Middle East-based terror group Islamic State has reportedly claimed responsibility for most of the murders, including the Gulshan massacre, in the past two years in Bangladesh.
But the government ministers and security agencies have always rejected any presence of the ultra-hardline Sunni Muslim group here.
Maududi, Sayedee’s books at CU
Chittagong University officials have seized ‘a great number of books and leaflets, that may incite ‘religious hatred’, from the libraries of Arabic and Islamic studies departments.
Proctor Ali Asgar said, “There are many books in the libraries of different departments, mosques and halls of the university that are not needed for any academic work, but creates religious hatred.
“These books from all these places will be removed within seven days.”
Assistant Proctor Liton Mitra said over 200 books seized from the Arabic and Islamic studies departments include those written by the Jamaat’s founder and political and theoretical guru Sayyid Abul A’la Maududi, convicted war criminal and Jamaat leader Delwar Hossain Sayedee and the controversial Islamic preacher from India, Zakir Naik.
He told bdnews24.com that the university had recently asked all departments to submit a list of books they have in their libraries. But these 200 books were not on those lists.
“We also found some leaflets from the Arabic department that directly fosters religious hatred.”
The department’s Chairman Ismail Chowdhury, however, said, “The previous chairman had brought some leaflets for the department when he returned from Hajj. We are looking into how more leaflets got in here.”
The VC has said they have sent a notice to the department asking it to explain why it did not submit the list of missing students.