Anti-Saad Tabligh Jamaat activists have allegedly seized passports, money and belongings of foreigners who travelled to Bangladesh ahead of the Biswa Ijtema, which is usually held in January every year.
Supporters of Delhi-based Tabligh leader Maulana Saad Kandhalvi have also alleged that foreign nationals, staying at the capital’s Kakrail mosque, are being prevented from going to places.
At least eight Indonesian Tabligh activists have written to the embassy in Dhaka seeking assistance.
Kakrail Mosque sources say, there is a storage facility at the mosque for the foreign Tabligh activists. They store their passports, air-tickets, money and other valuables in the facility for safe-keeping. They usually leave most of their belongings in the storage before embarking on a trip to another district of the country.
Tabligh supporters from different countries started to arrive ahead of the Ijtema. The foreigners usually arrive at least 40 days ahead of the annual congregation for voluntary works.
At the end of Ijtema most of them return, while several others who to stay for few more days to serve the Bangladesh Tabligh.
After the recent clash between Tabligh factions in Tongi, the number of such Tabligh enthusiasts is expected to fall.
On Dec 4, Indonesian Tabligh activists went to Ramna police and made a verbal complaint after they were denied access to their passports and other belongings. Later on Dec 5 they wrote to the Indonesian Dhaka mission.
Five of them are currently staying at a Mirpur mosque. Diki Romantasha, one of them, told Bangla Tribune, “We were denied our passport, dresses and money from the Kakrail mosque. We didn’t get any assistance from the police either.”
These Indonesians said they are having a hard time as they have little or no money with their wallet seized. Some of them had to postpone their return flight schedule as they cannot fly without passports.
“We don’t know what we will do now,” said Romantasha adding, “We are scared and living in uncertainty.”
Anti-Saad Tabligh factions, however, refuted the claim terming such incident as rumour.
Anti-Saad faction leader Dr Azgar, said, “They (pro-Saad activists) are spreading propaganda. They are trying to mislead people.”
Maulana Abdullah Monsur, a pro-Saad senior Tabligh activist said, “Not only Bangladeshi, foreigners are also being harassed.”
Few of them returned home without their belongings out of fear, he said and added that such incidents are tarnishing the country’s image.