Protesting students of Hathazari madrasa in Chattogram
Protesting students of Hathazari madrasa in Chattogram IANS

Hefazat-e-Islam Bangladesh chief Shah Ahmed Shafi has resigned from the post of director general of Al-Jamiatul Ahlia Darul Ulum Moinul Islam, popularly known as Hathazari Madrasa, in Hathazari, Chattogram.

The decision was taken from a meeting of the madrasa’s Shura committee around 10:30 on Thursday night.

Speaking to Prothom Alo, Shura committee member Salaudin Nanupuri said the decision to remove Anas Madani, the eldest son of Shah Ahmed Shafi has been maintained. Anas Madani was removed from an earlier meeting of the Shura committee on Wednesday. Another teacher of the madrasa, Nurul Islam, also has been removed for life from all kinds of activities of the madrasa.

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Salaudin Nanupuri also said that director general Shah Ahmed Shafi has handed over the charge to the Shura committee due to his old age and illness. From now on the committee will run the madrasa. It will appoint a director general if it finds necessary. Later, the Shura committee kept Shah Ahmed Shafi as an honorary director.

It was also decided in the meeting that Shafi will be taken to a hospital. Besides, the Shura committee members will stay at the madrasa. The students of the madrasa announced the end of their movement as their demands were met.

Earlier in the day, the education ministry declared closure of Al-Jamiatul Ahlia Darul Ulum Moinul Islam until further order due to breaching of its health guidelines due to coronavirus outbreak

Earlier in the day, the education ministry declared closure of Al-Jamiatul Ahlia Darul Ulum Moinul Islam until further order due to breaching of its health guidelines due to coronavirus outbreak, reports news agencies BSS and IANS.

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The technical and madrasa education division of the education ministry issued an order in this regard on Thursday, said a press release.

In the order the technical and madrasa education division said Qawmi madrasas were given permission on 24 August 2020 to resume their academic activities, including holding exams on conditions of maintaining health safety guidelines.

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But Al-Jamiatul Ahlia Darul Ulum Moinul Islam did not maintain the conditions properly.

There were protests brewing up at the seminary. Students of the madrasa had demonstrated on Chattogram-Khagrachhari road and vandalised furniture inside the madrasa on Wednesday demanding removal of Anas Madani.

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An order signed by Syed Asgar Ali, assistant secretary, technical and madrasa education division under the education ministry, said: “On 24 August, conditional permission was given to the Qawmi madrasas to resume academic activities and examinations. As the conditions were not fulfilled properly, Al-Jamiatul Ahlia Darul Ulum Moinul Islam has been shut down until further notice. The order will come into effect immediately.”

On Wednesday, several hundred students of Hathazari madrasa erupted in protest to press home their six-point demand.

Locals said the demonstration was a result of the dispute between supporters of Shafi and Hefazat secretary-general Junayed Babunagri.

Police later removed the students from the highway. The law enforcers took position outside the madrasa on Thursday, saying tensions simmered inside.

The violent protest was the latest in the rift between Babunagari and Anas Madani, that surfaced when Babunagari was removed from the post of assistant director of the Madrasa in June this year.

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In the wake of raging protests of the students, the Shura Committee (highest decision-making body) of the educational institution held an emergency meeting on Wednesday night and decided to relieve Anas Madani of his duties at the Madrasa.

Anas Madani has been serving as the publicity secretary and the assistant director of the age-old madrasa.

Tension rose in the Hathazari madrasa in recent months over the leadership as Shafi fell ill several times.

The dispute between supporters of Shafi and Junayed Babunagri sprang out in the open when the Shura Committee replaced the latter with Sheikh Ahmed in June.