Detained acting JMB chief Nazmul told interrogators that he and executed JMB military commander Ataur Rahman Sunny were there when JMB men stabbed eminent author Prof Humayun Azad in front of Bangla Academy in February, 2004.
Nazmul, who is also known as Bhagne Shahid and Anwar Alam, made the disclosure during remand at the Detective Branch of police office yesterday, a DB official told The Daily Star requesting not to be named.
Nazmul told interrogators that as Prof Azad cried for help he detonated a bomb to clear the way for their escape dispersing people coming forward to aid Azad.
Sunny had planned the attack and he had led the Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh operatives who carried out the attack, he told investigators, adding that he had provided them with the knives.
Nazmul told interrogators that they had also issued several death threats over telephone to Azad to stop, what they claimed, his anti-Islamic writings and opinions. He said Azad did not pay heed to their warnings.
Asked about the information they received from Nazmul about the JMB operatives who took part in the attack, the DB official refused to give details for the sake of investigation.
However, another DB official said JMB operatives Minhaz and Shamim, who is also known as Sado, took part in the attack among others.
On February 27, 2004, they swooped on 56-year-old linguist Azad, a professor of Bangla at Dhaka University, as he was trying to catch a rickshaw to go home from the Ekushey Book Fair at Bangla Academy, sources said.
Four to five youths, who were shadowing Azad, emerged from the direction of Suhrawardy Udyan and hemmed him, witnesses had told The Daily Star after the attack. As Prof Azad cried for help, a loud blast rocked the area and the attackers got away, they said.
Azad died from what an autopsy said was a heart attack in Munich on August 12 that year.
Azad was receiving threats from fundamentalists after his book “Pak Saar Jamin Saad Baad” was published in a national Bangla daily’s Eid issue.
Meanwhile, a top DB official said they put acting JMB chief Nazmul, the banned outfit’s North Bengal chief Shafiqul Islam alias Jamai Rafiq and former acting JMB chief Saidur Rahman face-to-face and interrogated them.
The official said they also put detained Jamaat leaders face-to-face with detained JMB leaders and interrogated them yesterday.
A DB official said Jamaat leader Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid, Motiur Rahman Nizami and Delwar Hossain Sayedee claimed that they are not war criminals. They said they just supported Pakistan during the war and it was their political right to do so.
The detained JMB leaders used to keep regular contact with Jamaat leaders and some Jamaat leaders used to provide financial help to JMB operatives, claimed a DB source, adding that JMB high-ups were also trying to forge a unity with Jamaat.
Jamaat and Hizb-ut Tahrir also tried to keep contact with Detained JMB leaders, a DB source said quoting the JMB leaders.