Blast at Ctg: 1 injured student dies

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One of the seven students, who got hurt in a bomb blast at a Hefajat-e Islam leader’s madrasa in Chittagong city yesterday, succumbed to his injuries early Tuesday.

Victim Md Habib, who had suffered nearly 70 percent burnt injuries, breathed his last around 2:30am at the burn unit of the Chittagong Medical College and Hospital, reports our correspondent quoting a source of the hospital who preferred to be unnamed.
A view of the damaged room of Hefajat leader’s madrasa at Lalkhan Bazar in the port city following a bomb blast in it Monday.
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Meanwhile, Nurun Nabi, another injured student of Jamiatul Ulum Al Islamia Madrasa in Lalkhan Bazar of the port city where the explosion took place around 11:30am Monday, was shifted to Dhaka Medical College and Hospital as his condition deteriorated.

Nurun Nabi suffered around 90 percent burn injuries.

However, Mamun, a brother of Nurun Nabi, claimed that his brother is a diploma engineer serving at a private company in the port city.

Nurun Nabi and Salman, another injured, were picked up by law enforcers Monday afternoon while they had been undergoing treatment at the CMCH, Assistant Commissioner Abdur Rouf of CMP (Panchlaish zone) said earlier.

Salman suffered 25 to 30 percent burns, doctors said.

Police had detained deceased Habib and Jobayer Ahmed from Surgiscope Hospital around 6:00pm Monday. Later, they were admitted to CMCH.

In another development, police filed two cases–one under explosive substances act and another for reserving acid in the madrasa — against 12 people including Hefajat Nayeb-e-Ameer Mufti Izharul Islam Chowdhury, also suspected activist of banned militant outfit Harkatul Jihad al Islami (Huji), as prime accused Tuesday morning.

Dozens of unnamed people were also accused in the case filed under Explosive Substances Act.

Harun Izhar, son of Huji leader and publicity secretary of the Hefajat’s central committee, was also named in both of the cases.

In the meantime, policemen recovered a grenade from the madrasa compound early Tuesday.

After the explosion at the madrasa established by Hefajat leader Izharul, police visited the spot and found traces that huge explosives, including more than 30 handmade grenades, had been stored in the room where the explosion took place, Chittagong Metropolitan Police Commissioner Shafiqul Islam said Monday.

Police launched a raid at the madrasa immediately after the blast and detained madrasa teachers– Md Ishaq, Abdul Mannan and Tafsir Ahmed–hostel superintendent Monir Hossain and final-year student Habibur Rahman, ADC Md Shahidullah said as the raid ended around 10:00pm Monday.

Earlier in the evening, law enforcers picked up four others for interrogation.

Visiting the hillside madrasa, or correspondent found that all furniture, books, shelves, dresses, dress stands, beds and lockers of the room, which is on the second-floor of four-storey dormitory, were burnt to ashes. The ceiling fan got twisted and the windows were thoroughly damaged.

Witnesses said they saw some blown off human fingers at the spot. One of the injured lost his wrist in the explosion.

But our correspondent searching through different hospitals and clinics in the city did not find any student with blown off wrist.

The injured include: Md Karim, Md Amanullah, Md Jabbar, Md Abdullah, Md Khalek, and an unidentified person, all students of fatwa department of the madrasa, sources say.

Mufti Izharul, who is also the madrasa principal, told The Daily Star in the evening that he did not know how many students were injured in the incident.

Earlier in the afternoon, he claimed that the blast occurred from a laptop charger while students were cooking on a stove keeping the room’s door shut.

But an explosion from any laptop charger was impossible, says Prof Latiful Haque, head of computer science and engineering of Buet.

ADC Md Shahidullah said 100 to 150 shells of handmade bombs were recovered from the madrasa. Police also found three crude bombs and 18 bottles of picric acid.

Meanwhile, male students and teachers left the madrasa within 10:00am Tuesday following police order, the madrasa authorities said.

On the other hand, police denied any such order.

TWO CASES

Khulshi police filed both the cases with their police station around 10:00am Tuesday, a day after the explosion.

Mufti Izharul and his son were implicated in both the cases.

In a case filed for reserving acid in the madrasa, the Hefajat leader and his son were implicated while 10 persons and dozens of unnamed people were named in the second case, said, Md Shahidullah, additional deputy commissioner (ADC) of Chittagong.

THE EXPLOSION

Locals said they heard a huge bang around 11:30am from the madrasa.

“Hearing the sound, we ran to the madrasa but the students barred us from entering,” said Russel, a college student living in the area.

He saw students taking several injured persons to hospitals. They were not allowing any outsider to help them.

Moulana Abu Saleh, a teacher at the madrasa, said hearing the bang, students and teachers rushed to extinguish the fire by spraying silt and water.

Five students of fatwa department used to stay in the room, he said.

Soon, firefighters from Agrabad fire station rushed to the spot. Fire official Md Yahia said it was a big explosion.

MILITANT CONNECTION

Mufti Izharul, 70, is also the president of Nezam-e-Islam and chairman of an Islami Oikya Jote (IOJ) faction.

The Rab detained him on December 16, 2010 for his alleged link with Huji. He was shown arrested for alleged involvement in the abduction of physician Azizur Rahman.

Abducted in the capital’s Mirpur area in September 2003, Azizur had protested militant activities during his stay in Khulna.

Huji chief Mufti Abdul Hannan and several others were also shown arrested in the abduction case, filed by the wife of Azizur.

Names of several militant groups and the IOJ came up during interrogation of the Huji leaders. Izharul got bail on April 5 in 2011.

Mufti Izharul’s younger son Musa Bin Izhar is the assistant general secretary of Hefajat-e Islam, a Qawmi madrasa-based Islamist organisation.

Another son, Harun Izhar, is the publicity secretary of Hefajat.

In November 2010, Detective Branch of police arrested Harun Izhar and two of his associates for alleged link with another militant outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

They were planning to attack the US embassy in Dhaka and other establishments, said DB officials.

Harun is now on bail.

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