The accused are blamed for a number of crimes, including money laundering. The People's Commission issues white paper that names a deputy commissioner and police officers guilty of inciting sectarian violence. Extremist imam rejects the document.
Dhaka (AsiaNews) – The People's Commission for the Investigation of Fundamentalism and Communal Terrorism submitted a list of 116 radical Islamists last week to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) for, among other things, suspicious transactions, describing them as “religious businessmen”.
A five-member delegation led by the chairman of the People's Commission and retired Supreme Court Justice Shamsuddin Chowdhury Manik handed over the white paper with the list of suspects.
“We have been investigating for nine months,” Justice Chowdhury told reporters. “I have visited different places [. . .] and taken the testimony of eyewitnesses and victims.”
The information suggests that religious businessmen “have laundered money”. For this reason, “I have been decided to give the white paper to the Anti-Corruption Commission”.
ACC Chairman Moinuddin Abdullah said that he would examine the paper.
The ACC is the leading government agency fighting corruption, while the People's Commission for the Investigation of Fundamentalism and Communal Terrorism was set up last year.
Together with other agencies, the latter recently published a white paper entitled “2,000 Days of Radical Communal Terrorism in Bangladesh”.
The People's Commission has accused several government officials of involvement in activities that incite sectarian violence.
In this regard, retired Justice Chowdhury said that the paper cites several names, including that of the Noakhali deputy commissioner and police officers in Sunamganj, who encouraged radical attackers.
“After examining the data of a thousand madrasas, a list of 116 religious businessmen was compiled,” said Turin Afroz, secretary of the People's Commission. “They committed other crimes, including money laundering. We expect them to be held accountable for their actions.”
Home Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Khan was present at the white paper’s release in Dhaka.
“I will inform Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina about the recommendations of the white paper after carefully examining it,” he said.
The minister used the occasion to reiterate that violence cannot be the norm in any religion.
He also noted that, “We have arrested many militants” who have killed foreigners and members of minority groups. “Our activities are still ongoing. We will not spare any of those who try to destabilise Bangladesh.”
Yesterday, at a press conference at Reporters Unity in the capital, some radical Islamist leaders protested against the white paper.
“Calling us ‘religious businessmen’ is insulting,” said Gazi Atuar Rahman, general secretary of Olama Maskay Aiamma Parishad, a national Islamist organisation.
“We strongly protest the idea that we are involved in religious business. We all pay taxes on our earnings. We protest and demand justice from those who falsely accuse us.”
For Gazi Atuar Rahman, the “so-called” People's Commission is not serving the country's interests.