Police on Tuesday night detained Abdul Moktadir, a key player in displaying and distributing among locals some Facebook images insulting the Quran on the evening of September 29 in Ramu.
It was the spreading of those images by Moktadir and his friend Omar Faruk that apparently provoked Muslims to torch a dozen Buddhist temples and pagodas and damage six others in Ramu that night.
The mayhem begun soon after the two showed those images, tagged in a Buddhist youth Uttam Kumar Barua’s Facebook account, to locals at Faruk’s mobile servicing shop at Fakirabazar in Ramu.
Eighteen-year-old Moktadir, also known as Alif, is a student of Shyamoli Ideal Polytechnic in Chittagong.
His friend Faruk, also 18, was detained on October 6, and is now being interrogated by law enforcers over the duo’s role in distributing the photos, police said.
Three days before his detention, Faruk described to this correspondent at the shop how he and Moktadir showed and distributed among people a number of images derogatory to Islam.
They also supplied soft copies of the picture to some local journalists, which soon got spread in and around Ramu within a few hours, Faruk had said.
This paper on October 4 published a report headlined “It all started form a tiny phone repair shop” based on Faruk’s account.
However, Moktadir’s mother Sajeda Begum Shimul said on Sunday that her son came across the photo when he went to the shop for having a mobile phone fixed.
This correspondent wanted from her Moktadir’s contact address and phone number, but she refused to give either. She also would not show any photo of her son, saying there was none.
Plainclothes law enforcers picked up Moktadir from the institute’s hostel at Nasirabad in the port city late on Tuesday night, said the principal and the superintendent of the Polytechnic institute.
The law enforcers came within half an hour of Moktadir’s arrival in the hostel from outside, said Imam Hossain, the hostel superintendent.
Moktadir, a sixth semester diploma student of computer engineering, left the hostel for Feni on Friday and returned on Tuesday night, added Imam.
According to his mother, Moktadir went to his home in Ramu from Chittagong on September 25, as he had a few days’ vacation between his examinations.
Soon after Moktadir returned home from Faruk’s shop, which is close to his home, around 8:30pm on September 29, some police personnel came and asked him to go to the police station, said Sajeda.
She added she went to the Ramu Police Station around 3:00pm on September 30 as her son was yet to return home till then. Policed then released Moktadir, saying that he would not face any problem.
Moktadir passed SSC in 2009 from Ramu Khizari Model High School. Sajeda said her son was a bright student and was good at technical work, including mobile servicing.
Meanwhile, Nazibul Islam, the former officer-in-charge of Ramu Police Station, has already been closed to Chittagong Deputy Inspector General of Police’s office in Ramu after his withdrawal from Ramu over his mysterious inaction in containing the mayhem.