Laskar leader had links to Aug 21 grenades

Detective Branch (DB) personnel suspect detained Laskar-e-Taiyeba leader Indian national Mufti Obaidullah’s possible links to the grenades supplied by Moulana Tajuddin for using in August 21 attacks at Awami League rally.

The DB officials also suspect Obaidullah knew about Ramna Batamul blast and Udichi blast in Jessore.

According to sources, Laskar-e-Taiyeba had supplied the grenades through Bangladesh Harkatul Jihad al Islami (Huji) leader Moulana Tajuddin, brother of detained former BNP deputy minister Abdus Salam Pintu, as he is closely linked to the Pakistan based militant organisation.

After the August 21 grenade attack, Tajuddin went into hiding and now he is believed to have been staying in South Africa. However, his brother Pintu remains detained in connection with the AL rally blast.

Deputy Commissioner Monirul Islam of DB-South told The Daily Star that they are quizzing Obaidullah about all the attacks, including AL rally on August 21, Ramna Batamul and Udichi blasts, and Huji’s links to the attacks.

He said Obaidullah is denying his involvement in all the attacks in Bangladesh and claiming himself an ‘ideological leader’ of Laskar-e-Taiyeba.

“But he keeps mum when we ask him about the relationship between Huji and Laskar-e-Taiyeba,” the DC-DB said adding, “He is a strong-hearted militant leader and therefore it is hard to extract information from him about his financial support and his network.”

Monirul Islam, however, said Mufti Obaidullah had close relationship with Huji leaders Moulana Tajuddin, Mufti Hannan, Mufti Abdur Rouf and Moulana Abdus Salam.

Sources said intelligence personnel are conducting drives at different Huji dens to nab the Laskar-e-Taiyeba leaders as leaders of both the organisations are ideologically the same and they have close links to each other.

DB Inspector Ruhul Amin, investigation officer of the case filed against Mufti Obaidullah, told The Daily Star that they, along with Obaidullah, conducted drives at different places of Savar, Gazipur, Keraniganj and other areas adjacent to the capital.

He also said several teams are conducting drives to nab the accomplices of Obaidullah.

Mufti Obaidullah had been serving as a teacher of a madrasas in Shibchar of Madaripur district using his fake identity. Earlier he was a teacher of four other madrasas in Moulavibazar, Munshiganj, Jessore and Dhaka.

Now he is being quizzed under the Taskforce Intelligence cell after being taken on seven days’ remand.

Our Madaripur correspondent reports: Shibchar police are verifying the identities of the teachers of different madrasas to find out whether Obaidullah has any other associates there.

Officer-in-Charge Abdul Jalil of the police station said they are looking into whether any other madrasa teachers are linked to the Laskar-e-Taiyeba.