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Marjan was involved with CU Shibir

  • Published at 07:08 pm August 16th, 2016
  • Last updated at 11:06 pm August 16th, 2016
Marjan was involved with CU Shibir
Nurul Islam Marjan, the alleged operation commander of the grisly terror attack on Gulshan's Holey Artisan Bakery on July 1, was involved with Islami Chhatra Shibir when he was a student at Chittagong University (CU), according to both university and police sources. CU authorities confirmed his identity after consulting the university's student records, officials told the Dhaka Tribune on Tuesday. They said he enrolled in the Arabic department in 2012-13 academic session. He became irregular in his second year and went missing on February 14, 2015 during his second year final exams. Calling him a drop-out, CU Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Iftekhar Uddin Chowdhury told the Dhaka Tribune: “Marjan's studentship was cancelled as he was absent for a long time and did not get re-admitted.” Marjan's name was found on the list of Shibir leaders and activists in CU, which was retrieved from a laptop owned by CU Shibir general secretary, seized during a raid at the university's Abdur Rab dormitory last year, said an assistant proctor of the university, asking not to be named. Asked about it, CU Proctor Ali Asgar Chowdhury said police told them that Marjan was involved with Shibir activities. But he did not give any further information. With Marjan, the number of CU students who were found to have militant links now stands at seven, sources said. Speaking to the Dhaka Tribune, Monirul Islam, chief of police's Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crimes (CTTC) unit, said they had primary information on Marjan and confirmed that Marjan was from Pabna. “We were able to verify the information with the help of his neighbours in Pabna,” he said, adding that police were now working to gather more information on him. Monirul further said his unit would interrogate Marjan's family members and speak with his neighbours as well as people from his schools, madrasas and university. “We have also been tracking his social media activities. We have information that he was spotted in several places in Chittagong district.” Meanwhile, the CU administration has instructed all the departments of the university to submit the names of the students who have been suspiciously missing for a long period of time. CU VC Prof Chowdhury confirmed it and said: “I ordered them to provide the lists of absent students by Sunday. The Arabic department has been given extra time and must submit the list by Wednesday.”

An excellent student

According CU registry, 21-year-old Marjan passed his Dakhil exams from Darul Ulum Markaziya Madrasa in Pabna in 2010 and his Alim exams from Ariful Jamiul Fazil Madrasa in Pabna in 2012. He excelled in both the examinations with the score of GPA 5. After he enrolled into the Arabic department of CU, his academic excellence continued in the first year: he scored a CGPA of 3.48 out of 4 in his first year finals. He used to live in a cottage on the university campus while waiting for a place in a student dormitory. He was placed in Suhrawardy residential hall, but never lived there, said campus sources. His classmates said he used to dress in panjabis and kurtas and was polite in nature. He also had a good command in Arabic language. But things started to go awry in second year – Marjan became irregular in classes and went missing in the middle of his second-year final examinations.

A rising militant star

According to investigators, Marjan is the youngest militant commander on the new faction of Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), which is largely known as NEW JMB. He has close connections with the top leaders of the militant outfit. Asked if Marjan was involved in any major attacks other than Gulshan, Monirul said it could only be confirmed after he was arrested. But a CTTC high official, requesting anonymity, told the Dhaka Tribune that Marjan had been involved with possibly all big militant attacks and killings in Bangladesh since April this year. “We suspect that he made big changes in how the JMB operates,” he said.
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