Hefazat-e-Islam leaders and activists carried out violence and arson at Shapla Chattar, Motijheel, Dhaka on 5 May 2013Prothom Alo file photo

The pandemonium created by Islamist hardliners Hefazat-e-Islam at Shapla Chattar in Motijheel of the capital city Dhaka is “a huge incident” and that is why the law enforcement is taking time to complete investigations into it, said AKM Hafiz Akter, additional commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police’s detective branch.

The leaders and activists of Hefazat carried out violence in the area after a rally at Shapla Chattar on 5 May 2013. The law enforcement agencies are now making arrests of Hefazat leaders regarding the incident.

AKM Hafiz Akter told newspersons on Wednesday that one of the main reasons of delay in completing the investigations was to ensure that no innocent persons faced trial. Extensive data and information are being collected to this end.

The DMP additional commissioner said, “Sabotage was were carried out in the Baitul Mukarram area over the visit of Indian prime minister Narendra Modi during the golden jubilee programmes of independence. Following this, rumours were spread and sabotage was carried out in Brahmanbaria, Chattogram, Narayanganj, Sylhet and a few other districts. Those who were involved are being identified through video footage. They are being taken on remand and grilled. Everyone has seen how the acts of sabotage including arson were carried out around the country.”

“Action is being taken against those involved in the sabotage and in instigating the people. They will be indicted. But we’re trying to ensure that no innocent person faces punishment,” Hafiz Akter said.

The DMP additional commissioner also requested people to inform them if any innocent person was made accused in the cases. “Measures will be taken based on evidence.”

Regarding the lawsuits filed over the 2013 incident, the police official also said they did not know what the Hefazat leaders discussed with the home minister. But actions would be taken against the people who would be found involved with the violence, he added.

“The significance of violence at Shapla Chatta is tremendous. Information is required to ensure punishment of the accused. We’re collecting that along with video footage. Other information is being cross checked. That’s why the submission of the charge sheet is taking time,” the DMP official said in response to a question about why they could not finish the investigation even after eight years of the incident.

Regarding the cases filed against the Hefazat leaders recently, the senior police official said investigation is going on in those cases as well.