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Jamaat-Shibir men join Awami League seeking a change in fortunes

  • Published at 01:46 am August 24th, 2017
  • Last updated at 01:50 am August 24th, 2017
Jamaat-Shibir men join Awami League seeking a change in fortunes
Over the last decade, pressured by limited political space, many leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami and its student front Chhatra Shibir have been joining the Awami League and its front organisations. Leaders and members of this Islamist party are now pledging themselves to the ruling party’s liberal secular ideals, but Awami League veterans say their motives are nothing more than self-advancement and self-preservation. Awami League high command has on many occasions warned against infiltrations and sabotage by Jamaat and Shibir activists. Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader has said numerous times that Jamaat-BNP intruders in Awami League were creating chaos in the party. But when Rizia Nadvi, daughter of Jamaat central leader Muminul Haque Chowdhury, got a post in Mahila Awami League’s central committee, Obaidul himself defended the decision. Muminul has contested several parliamentary elections for Jamaat from Chittagong’s Banshkhali. Nadvi was also allegedly involved with Islami Chhatri Sangstha, the female wing of Shibir, when she was a student of Chittagong College. With the 11th parliamentary election on the horizon, many Awami League leaders fear that Jamaat-Shibir activists who have already infiltrated the party may join subversive activities. On December 30, 2013, Jamaat leader Nousher Ali of Kushtia joined Awami League. Rajshahi 5 constituency lawmaker Abdul Wadud brought Mokhlesur Rahman Raju, the grandson of Abdul Mazid, a man accused of many war crimes during the Liberation War. The MP also appointed three Jamaat leaders as union level leaders of Bangladesh Krishak League. Most shocking of all, he brought in Mollah M Altaf Hossain, a former Shibir president of Baghmara upazila in Rajshahi, who was a known associate of the terrorist Bangla Bhai. Altaf was later appointed personal secretary of Wadud and the education secretary of Baghmara Awami League. Former Baghmara Jamaat general secretary Nurul Islam also joined Awami League there. On May 12, 2015, Jamaat leader and Ward 9 Councillor of Chapainawabganj Municipality Ismail Hossain joined the local Awami League. A few days after his joining, hundreds of Jamaat and Shibir activists joined the ruling party. Ismail was wanted in 12 cases. On May 24, around 500 leaders and activists of Jamaat in Noakhali joined Awami League. On July 2, Jamaat leader Humayun, accused in several cases for his involvement in subversive activities during the January 5 election, joined Awami League. Joypurhat Jamaat leader and Majlis-e-Shura member Abdus Salam joined Awami League with hundreds of Jamaat and Shibir activists. Gopalganj district Jamaat Secretary General Md Ismail Hossain joined Awami League on April 19, 2015. A leader of Awami League Central Working Committee seeking anonymity told the Dhaka Tribune that Awami League has become a safe haven for Jamaat leaders and activists. “Several controversial leaders and lawmakers have introduced Jamaat leaders into Awami League,” he said, although he declined to give the names of such leaders. “Jamaat men are choosing to join Awami League to save themselves from cases filed against them for subversive activities or to keep their business and financial interests safe during Awami League period. They will back in their party when they grab the power,” he said. Golam Mowla Nakshabandi, advisor of Awami League Central Working Committee, told the Dhaka Tribune: “Inclusion of Jamaat and Shibir leaders and activists in Awami League is the worst decision. Awami League leaders have to pay for their mistake. “Even these intruders may try to kill the party president, if they get the chance. All Awami League leaders should avoid Jamaat and Shibir activists,” he said. Lawmaker Md Abdur Razzak and presidium member of Awami League said that a few Jamaat men may have joined the party and Awami League should be careful about them. This reporter tried several times to reach Rajshahi 5 constituency lawmaker Abdul Wadud but he did not receive phone calls.
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