SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Association)- A leader of the Islamic Front, who hosted TV programmes, has been found murdered in yet-unclear circumstances at his Dhaka residence.
Police say miscreants tied up everyone at Maolana Nurul Islam Farooqi’s residence before slaughtering him on Wednesday night at East Razabazar.
He was the presidium member of Islamic Front and affiliated with Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat and also the Khatib of High Court Mazar mosque.
Farooqi hosted two programmes – ‘Shantir Pothe’ and ‘Kafela’ – on Channel i.
Activists of Islamic Front and Chhatra Sena staged protests on the Green Road near his residence. Agitators in Chittagong vandalised several vehicles.
Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat has called an agitation in front of the National Press Club for Thursday to protest against the killing, its Secretary General ANM Masood Al Qadri said.
The motive behind the murder is yet unclear.
But Farooqi’s supporters say he opposed Hizb-ut Tawhid, Jamaat-e-Islami and Hifazat-e Islam and had received death threats before.
His killing is a chilling reminder of the slaughtering of six men, including a self-proclaimed saint, at Dhaka’s Gopibagh last December.
Police believe Islamic fundamentalists had carried out the Gopibagh murders.
But Farooqi was the only one killed on Wednesday – his family members were tied up.
State Minister for Home Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal visited the crime scene and ordered police to arrest the perpetrators as soon as possible.
Dhaka City police’s Deputy Commissioner Masudur Rahman said they were investigating whether the murder was due to the TV programmes Farooqi hosted or due to personal animosity or rivalry over business.
Locals say he was involved with sending people to Hajj.
“We’ll continue our investigation based on whatever lead we get,” Deputy Commissioner Masud said.
His family says several youth had come to the house to talk over Hajj and killed him.
Farooqi lived on the second floor of a three-storey building. bdnews24.com’s Golam Mujtaba Dhruba found the furniture scattered late on Wednesday night.
The bedroom, where the killing took place, has been cordoned off by police and RAB personnel.
Several hundred activists of Islamic Front were heard shouting slogans demanding justice.
Quoting Farooqi’s nephew ‘Maruf’, Mirpur Baitul Rashid Mosque Imam Ehsanul Haq said, “Two youths came to his house at around 8:30pm saying they would like to go on Hajj.
“Six or seven more people forcefully entered the house when the door was opened. They took out firearms and one of them said ‘give us the money you have’.
When Farooqi said he had around Tk 100,000 at home, they said this money would not do for so many of them.
Ehsanul Haq said the youths then tied Farooqi’s hands and legs with clothes in his bedroom and slaughtered him before leaving.
The victim’s wife, mother, nephew Maruf, and domestic help were at home. His eldest son Ahmed Reza Farooqi is in Saudi Arabia. His two other sons were not at home.
His younger son Faisal Farooqi saw his father’s body and informed everyone.
Sher-e-Bangla Nagar police’s Sub-Inspector Sabbir Ahmed said those at home during the murder could not recognise any of the killers.
Asked about the reason for the killing, Islamic Front’s Fazlul Haq told bdnews24.com, “He (Farooqi) worked on spreading the core ideas of Islam and was against Hizb-ut Tawhid, Jamaat-Shibir, and Hifazat-e Islam.
“Many were angry with him for this.”
Farooqi’s companion Ahmed Noori said the TV presenter had been threatened before for speaking against militancy.
Vandalism in Chittagong
Leaders and activists of Islamic Front and Islami Chhatra Sena demonstrated separately in Chittagong after the news of Farooqi’s death.
They vandalised and torched at least 20 vehicles in the area between Muradpur and Sholoshahar around 10:30pm, witnesses said.
The agitation had stopped the traffic on that road for some time.
Police at the time fired several rounds of teargas shells to contain the situation.
Chhatra Sena supporters also took out protest marches at Andarkilla, Cheragi Pahar and Chittagong Press Club areas Wednesday night.
Islamic Front Secretary General MA Matin told bdnews24.com that protest marches were also taken out at Patia, Hathazari and Anwara Upazilas, outside the port city.
Fresh protest programmes will be announced from a press briefing at the press club at 12pm Thursday, he said.