'Father stunned to see son on list of militants'

CTTC raided 'militant den' at remote hilly area of Kulaura upazila in Moulvibazar
Prothom Alo

Rafiul Islam, 22, is one of ten people who were arrested on charges of alleged involvement in militancy from Kulaura of Moulvibazar on Saturday.

"I an shocked to see that my son's name on the list of militants. My heart is filled with pain," Rafiul's father Saiful Islam lamented.  

He said, "I stayed abroad for long to bring up the children. I had hoped my son would be an engineer. That did not happen, but I still was not disappointed."

Rafiul is a resident of Maizbari village of Kazipur upazila in Sirajganj. His father is Saiful Islam of the village and mother is Reba Sultana.

His father was abroad for long while his mother was a member of the Woman Ward No 4, 5 and 6 (reserved) of Maizdi union parishad. Rafiul has a younger sister.

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Rafiul's family said he obtained GPA-5 in SSC in 2018 and GPA-5 in HSC in 2020. He sat for admission tests in BUET, medical colleges and Dhaka University but didn't get a chance for admission.

Later he got admitted to the zoology department at Shaheed M Mansur Ali Government College at Kazipur of Sirajganj.

Alongside studies, he was involved in teaching at a coaching centre at the Talimul academy in the suburbs of Pabna eight months ago. He stayed with other teachers there.

Rafiul's father Saiful Islam said his son left home on 4 August saying he was going to Talimul Academy.

"He told his mother that he would open a separate coaching centre. He may go to Cox's Bazar with his friends in a day or two. He also told his mother not to be worried if she cannot reach him over phone," Saiful quoted Rafiul's mother as saying.

He also said, "I had a heart attack on at night, on the that my son went out. I underwent treatment for a week at Shaheed M Mansur Ali Medical College Hospital in Sirajganj. An attempt was made to contact my son but his phone was found switched off. I didn't find my son beside me during my illness. I have fallen sick seeing my son with militants."

"We entire family cherish the spirit of the liberation war. How do I believe my son has become a militant? My two children are good students. My daughter will appear for SSC. It was for their future that I worked in Malaysia and UAE for 20 years. Now I am in such a state."

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Rafiul's mother, former UP member Reba Sultana said, "My son had been plain and simple and pious since boyhood. He is a good student. We don't understand why he didn't get a chance in any good universities. Now it is being said he is a militant. How can I believe this!"

Maizbari UP chairman freedom fighter Shawkat Hossain, speaking to Prothom Alo, said, "I can't imagine that a member of this family will become a militant. Rafiul's mother was UP member for a long time."

The Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit arrested 10 people in a drive on suspicion of a militant hideout in the hill areas of Moulvibazar.

The CTTC said the detainees are members of a new militant outfit named ‘Imam Mahmuder Kafela’ (Imam Mahmud’s Kafela). Of the arrestees, four were male and the remaining six were female. Besides, there are three children with them.

Various militancy training materials including three kg explosives, 50 detonators and Tk 361,000 were recovered.