Funded by Islamic forces, militant outfits Hefazat-e-Islam and Jamaat-e-Islami wanted to turn Bangladesh into a Taliban state like Afghanistan if they came to power, top Hefazat leaders, including Mamunul Haque who was arrested recently, have confessed to the police.

A top detective official said that Hefajat leaders had formed an organisation called ‘Rabetatul Waizin Bangladesh’ with leaders from across the country.

They used to control ‘Waz Mahfils’ (spreading militancy in the name of preaching Islam) by forcing organisers from Pakistan to invite their militant leaders as speakers in them.

Mahbub Alam, Joint Commissioner of the Detective Branch of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP), confirmed to IANS on Saturday evening that the leaders of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and Jamaat-e-Islami were also involved in the arson in Dhaka in 2013 and the violent protests during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Bangladesh last march.

A group of Hefazat leaders are involved in propagating extremism and the police are trying to identify them by scrutinising video footages. The search and arrest operations will continue until all the accused involved in the arson are arrested, Mahbub Alam said.

Fourteen top-ranked Hefazat leaders, along with several leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan and BNP have been arrested since April 4.

The police are investigating at least 65 cases filed in connection with the mayhem carried out by the Hefazat supporters in 2013 and in March this year.

Most of the arrested leaders have confessed that they thought that by using madrasa students as shields to vandalise and set government properties on fire, Hefazat was the only effective platform to oust the Awami League from power in Bangladesh, the police said after interrogating the arrested militant leaders.

These militant outfits had hatched conspiracies to topple the government in 2013 and again in March this year, the police said.

The interrogate the arrested persons, three teams have been formed involving the investigating officers who have knowledge of Quran and Hadith, Mahbub Alam said, as he ruled out any possibility of torturing the Hefazat leaders.

About Hefazat’s joint secretary general Mamunul Haque, the DB official said that Haque has told the investigating officers that his first marriage was conducted according to the Islamic rule and the country’s law.

Alam also said that Haque did not have any marriage registration certificate of his two other wives, saying those were “contract marriages”.

As per the contract, they will be treated as wives but will not get social recognition.