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From where the IS cap came from?

Published : Wednesday, 11 December, 2019 at 12:00 AM  Count : 167

Nizam Ahmed

Nizam Ahmed

Perhaps our most professional state agencies are trying to hide their blushful face as they have acknowledged to have failed to retrieve the cap and ascertain to know from whom a convicted Islamist terrorist received it at a highly secured court room two weeks ago.
The condemned convict boldly wore the cap having a logo of Islamic State scribed on it, immediately after the announcement of the verdict in the deadly Holey Artisan Bakery attack case, at the trial court in Dhaka on November 27 last.

However, until December 5, the guards of Keraniganj prison, police and the intelligence squads could not confirm the source of the cap and the man who was said to have handed over the cap to the convict at the court. The different law enforcing agencies and the prison guards have been pointing fingers at each other for the negligence of their vigilance which facilitated the convict to project the IS logo anew.

As the incident cannot be denied after the photographs of at least two convicts wearing  caps,  one with IS logo, were printed in newspapers and the footage were telecast by different channels, all the involved law enforcing agencies are now trading blames among themselves for lax surveillance in handling the convicted Islamist terrorists.
Two death row convicts in the case reportedly carried the caps to the court stealthily on the day of the verdict announcement. Media report quoting the law enforcers said either the duo wore a single cap at different time or they used separate caps at the court and on the prison van while returning to Keraniganj prison. However, after media uproar on the day the prison guards said they did not get any cap with IS logo from the convicts after routine frisking.

After eight days of the cap saga, a senior official the Detective Branch of police, also the head of the three-member probe committee formed in this regard, told reporters on December 5 that the convict threw the cap with IS logo out of the prison van on his way back to jail from the court along with other convicts. But he could not name the place where he had thrown the cap. The senior official said police subsequently seized a black cap but that had no emblem of the Islamic State.

If this version was true than the law enforcers would have retrieved the missing cap scouring the roads through which the van moved to and from the prison to the court. Pedestrians mainly the rag pickers would have also found the caps weighing its colours, quality and the logo. So, none but police may believe the statement of the convict. But most people believe that the convict was lying.  So to retrieve the cap and to find out the people involved in procuring, making or supplying the cap to the prison, the convict should be put on interrogation under fresh remand.

But it is apparent that the prison authorities and the law enforcers have become lenient for the convicts who nearly three and a half years ago killed some 20 people mostly foreigners in a raid on an upscale restaurant in Gulshan,  Dhaka. Bangladesh people think these killers deserve no sympathy and law enforcers should be handle them properly so that no extremists ever dare to harm the country and the humanity in the name is Islam,  which itself denounced mayhem and violence.

Otherwise the culprits will continue to stage something big to try to free the convicts.   The incident of snatching three JMB (Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh) terrorists from police custody in a deadly bushed occurred in near Mymensingh in February,  2014. A policeman was killed and two others were also wounded when they attacked a prison van transporting the terrorists to a trial court.  However, within hours one of the snatched terrorist was killed in a gun fight, but two others managed to escape and hide.
Following the showdown of the IS cap none of the law enforcers,  the prison guards and the intelligence squads can deny their responibility. With the flagging of the IS cap by the convicted militant, the irresponsibility and inaptness of our well trained law enforcers has been exposed anew.

Meanwhile contradicting the findings of the prison authorities, the police officials analysing the footage of the prison said the Islamist detainees carried three prayer caps from the prison to the court. Of the three two caps were white and the other was black, but none of them had IS logo.

Prison guards frisked them and sensed the caps, but did not seize those thinking those as simple prayer caps, which is generally used by most Muslim prisoners in jails.  The prison guards did not think that of the caps at least one was with IS logo.
On December 3 the convict told a Dhaka court that he got the prayer cap with the IS logo from an unknown person on the crowded court premises on November 27.

"I don't know the person who gave it to me," responded the convict after Judge Md Majibur Rahman of the Anti-Terrorism Special Tribunal of Dhaka asked him about the cap. Replying to a query, the convict said he took the cap and wore it as it was inscribed with words of the Kalima, the declaration of Islamic faith. Responding to another question, he said he himself gave a cap to another fellow death-row convict
Concerned circles believe at this stage law enforcers could seek permission from the court to take the convict on fresh remand for interrogating the convict on emergence of the cap at the court premises. Following interrogation in the remand the truth would have come out.

If the statement of the convict was true, the law enforcers, the intelligence and the authorities should have taken the matter more seriously as it implies that there are certain elements who amid foolproof security are capable to reach the cap or any materials including the lethal ones to the criminals at any and anywhere they want.
Police said on November 28 last, in their primary probe, had found that the caps were brought from the Keraniganj prison while prisons officials on November 29 said there is no chance of collecting the caps from the prison. They claimed they had analysed CCTV footage and found no negligence of the prison staffers. They said the caps were handed over to the militants by other person's at the court.

The particular convict and six other militants were handed death penalty for their involvement in the July 1, 2016 Holey Artisan Bakery attack. As soon as a Dhaka court completed the café attack case judgement delivery on November 27, the particular convict while in the dock, wore the cap having the logo of IS, a global militant outfit.
He still had the cap on when police brought him out of the courtroom and took him to a prison van parked on the court premises. Police personnel who escorted him even did not seize the cap and he boarded on the prison van with the cap on.

However, according to an intelligence unit, all the three caps including one with IS logo were not supplied to the convicts by anyone at the court, but those were brought from the prison where the convicts themselves produced after collecting cloths and threads and needles.  And the logo was actually the Kalima - the declaration by uttering which one claims to be a Muslim having unconditional trust on Allah and His messenger (Hazrat) Muhammad (peace be upon him).

Policemen escorting the convicted militants did not seize the cap then and there due to their negligence and the ignorance. Most of the policemen and prison guards in lower ranks and files have different attitudes towards the Islamist militants, who can kill themselves instantly if required while hitting government forces in pursuit of establishing Sharia law - based Islamic state or to escape arrest in the hand of the infidels employed by secular or unIslamic governments. Those policemen and prison guards like some people who have no deep knowledge in Islam, think that the convicts when executed will be hosted in heaven by the Almighty Allah.

Under the circumstances, according to experts, it is imperative to hold courses anew for the prison guards and law enforcers so that they handle the Islamist detainees and the convicts as the ruthless cold blooded killers and not as the guests of heaven.

The author is Business Editor,
The Daily Observer

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