Will police arrest sacked NSU teachers?
It is now official that Gulshan terror attack survivor Abu Hasnat Reza Karim is linked to banned militant outfit Hizb ut-Tahrir which aims at capturing power and establishing caliphate in Bangladesh by eliminating the democratic forces and secularists.
The law enforcers showed him arrested in the case on August 4, more than a month after the deadly attack that claimed 22 lives including 17 foreigners on July 1. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack but the government which is adamant not to recognise the presence of IS says it was an act of a new group of JMB members that includes members from several militant groups.
Police said Hasnat was an active member of Hizb ut-Tahrir and another suspect Tahmid Hasib Khan used to work as his associate.
Hasnat’s link to the banned group was first exposed by the daily Ittefaq few days after the attack. But the law enforcers and his previous employer North South University did not say anything about it. The Bangla newspaper reported that Hasnat and three other teachers were asked to resign in 2012 for their involvement with the group.
The NSU came under severe criticisms as it was found that several of its current and former students were linked to militant groups and carried out fatal attacks.
After Hasnat’s arrest, when the police mentioned him as a HuT member, the university’s PRO Belal Ahmad admitted the fact while speaking to media. Belal said that they did not understand that it was a big deal and for this they did not inform the police about the matter.
Belal confirmed that after he resigned, Hasnat continued as a part-time teacher until September 2013 and then went to the UK. He holds dual citizenship.
Even NSU vice-chancellor Atiqul Islam at several programmes lied that Hasnat left the job willingly to work for his family business. The VC also assured that they would take proper measures so that their teachers and students cannot work for any extremist group.
But the names of the three other teachers could not be known.
Had the NSU authorities informed the police in 2012, Hasnat or other militants would not have been able to strengthen their group so quickly. May be the recent attacks could be avoided too.
Gias Uddin first victim
Investigators and officials of University Grants Commission have found that there are at least 15 other NSU teachers involved in preaching or supporting extremist activities.
NSU School of Health and Life Science dean Prof Gias Uddin Ahsan was suspended after he was arrested and remanded by the police for renting out his flat in Dhaka’s Bashundhara Residential Area to some youths without verifying their identities and not monitoring their activities.
Police have found that the Gulshan restaurant attackers were staying in that flat.
It could not be confirmed whether he knew the youths personally. One of the attackers, Nibras Islam, was a former student of NSU and possibly was known to Hasnat.
Hasnat was seen talking to the Gulshan attackers several times, smoking cigarettes and even carrying a gun. We should thank the Korean guy who recorded videos of the incident from a nearby house.
Librarian faces action
The NSU authorities have also expelled Dr M Mostafizur Rahman, librarian of the university, for alleged militant connection. He is responsible for choosing books for the university library.
A UGC team while visiting the library last year found some radical books of Hizb ut-Tahrir there. But the UGC took no action against anyone at that time.
The daily Ittefaq reported about it recently. Then another UGC team visited the library in July and found those books there. Later the VC told media that they have removed the books, apparently after asked by the UGC.
Three forced to resign
The NSU board has also forced two teachers to resign. They are computer science and engineering department chairman Prof Dr Abdul Awal and senior teacher Prof Dr Abul L Haque.
Intelligence sources said that Awal was very influential teacher of the university. He is also involved with many sensitive government projects and organisations.
Administrative officer Gholam Jalil was also forced to resign recently.
More teachers involved
The intelligence agencies and law enforcers have also named a dozen other teachers patronizing militant activities at the university.
The top suspects are CSE teacher Dr AFM Ataur Rahman, business faculty dean Prof M Mahboob Rahman, and teachers Dr Jashim Ahmed and Hannan Miah.
The other teachers and officers who would be forced to resign include two trustee board members named Shah Abdul Mannan and Ragib Ali, and two administrative officers.
Students in recent attacks
So far, at least three militants have been identified as former and current students of NSU – Nibras, Abir Rahman and Sazzad Rouf alias Arko.
Nibras was killed in Operation Thunderbolt at Gulshan Holey Artisan Bakery on July 2. Abir was killed in a gunfight with the police at Sholakia in Kishoreganj on July 7 and Arko was killed in Operation Storm 26 at a Kallyanpur militant den on July 26.
Many students on missing list
Currently the police are looking for some former and current students of NSU for their suspected involvement in militant activities. Of them, Basharuzzaman, Touhid Rouf, Rezwana Rokon and her husband Saad Kayes Shishir might have gone to Syria to join the Islamic State group. Their names came up on the list of RAB.
The law enforcers have also identified 11 more students for militant activities. On the other hand, the UGC has sought information on 40 students for being irregular at classes for around two years.
Pro-militant since beginning
The university was founded in 1992, and the founding VC, Prof Syed Abdul Ahad, was a pro-BNP person. Among the trustee board members is former secretary Shah Abdul Hannan, who is a Jamaat-e-Islami policymaker. Moreover, Ragib Ali is known for being Jamaat sympathiser. Detectives last year arrested seven militants from his medical college in Sylhet. He is also involved in a number of land grabbing cases.
HuT militants chose NSU for spreading their activities in 2001. That year, the HuT started its activities in Bangladesh by forming two units – one in Dhaka University and the other at NSU. It later gained huge support at several other private universities and BUET.
They used the university’s prayer room, cafe and library for holding discussions with the students for recruitment.
CSE student Junun Sikder got engaged with HuT at that time. He also met HuT member Rezwan Sharif and got engaged with Jordan-based militant group Jamayatul Muslemin and quit NSU. Junun later admitted to Darul Ihsan University.
Other NSU students involved with Islami Chhatra Shibir, HuT, JMB and other militant groups are Redwanul Azad Rana, Noki, Sekander Ali, Saif Kabir, Faisal Bin Nayeem Dwip, Maksudul Hassan Anik, Ehsan Reza Rumman, Nayeem Sikder Irad, Nafis Imtiaz, Sadman Yasir Mahmud.
Of them, Rana and Dwip were given death penalty in blogger Ahmed Rajeeb Haider murder case. Five others – Anik, Rumman, Irad, Nafis and Sadman – were given different jail terms in the case. All these seven militants were expelled from the university after their arrests in 2013.
They all were followers of radical Islamic preacher Jasim Uddin Rahmani, the spiritual leader of Ansarullah Bangla Team who is a fan of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and Taliban leader Molla Omar. Rahmani also supports Jamaat and Hefazat-e-Islam.
Rahmani also worked with Maj (terminated) Syed Ziaul Haque, Jamayatul Muslemin’s first ameer Prof Rezaur Razzak of Brac University and Ejaz Ahmed, the second ameer of Jamayatul Muslemin.
Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, who was arrested in 2012 for plotting to bomb a US bank, was also a student of NSU. Nafis was jailed in New York for 30 years.
And now after the recent militant attacks, it is crystal clear that the NSU authorities have always been negligent about stopping the preaching of radical Islamist propaganda on the campus, and by doing so they actually wanted to make it a safe haven for the religious extremists.
Top image: NahidSultan