Bangladesh police detain top leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami party
Story Code : 675482
Dhaka Police deputy commissioner Shaikh Nazmul Alam confirmed that nine people had been arrested after a raid on a house in the northern neighborhood of Uttara in the capital Dhaka on Monday.
The detainees include the top leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, Maqbul Ahmed, deputy leader Shafiqur Rahman and former member of parliament Golam Parwar.
"We learnt from a secret source they were holding a meeting at a secret place at a house in Uttara Sector Number Six. We have found some papers from that place," media outlets quoted the police official as saying.
He also added that police were investigating the documents.
He did not say what the Jamaat leaders were arrested for. Prothom Alo, the country's largest newspaper, however said that the leaders were arrested on charges of sabotage.
Ahmed, 79, has not appeared in any public meeting after he was elected as the head of the Islamic outfit last October, months after the execution of previous leader Motiur Rahman Nizami for alleged war crimes related to the 1971 war of independence against Pakistan.
Rahman, who was elected secretary general last year, is seen as his heir apparent.
In 2010, the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina set up a controversial war crimes tribunal, which convicted and sentenced to death top Jamaat leadership, triggering nationwide violent protests that left hundreds dead.
Jamaat has been banned from contesting polls after the country's high court ruled in 2013 that the party's charter contravened the nation's secular constitution.
Meanwhile, a Jamaat spokesman has strongly denounced the arrests, saying the leaders were attending "a social gathering."
"We protest the arrests. These are motivated. We are a democratic party and abide by all democratic norms. We did not do anything that was violent or went against the democratic ways," he said.
The latest arrests came as the government seems to have launched a crackdown on the opposition parties.
Earlier in the day, a court in the country's east issued an arrest warrant against main opposition leader Khaleda Zia after she failed to appear at a hearing over charges related to a 2015 fire-bombing of a bus that killed eight people. She has been visiting her exiled son in London for the last two months and is expected to return home later this month.
Zia, who was prime minister from 1991 to 1996 and again from 2001 to 2006, founded the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).