DHAKA: Bangladesh police said on Wednesday they had arrested a university professor on suspicion that he planned to lead an attack on the US embassy during a protest against an anti-Islam film.
Syed Golam Maola was detained late on Monday after counter-terrorism officers questioned an activist from a banned militant group who had taken part in the protest in Dhaka earlier in the day.
“We arrested a young Hizb-ul-Tahrir protester from the demonstration. Later we arrested Maola based on the preliminary information we got from him,” Dhaka Police spokesman Masudur Rahman told AFP.
Maola, described by police as a senior official of the banned group’s Bangladesh chapter, has been remanded in custody for five days by a court for questioning on suspicion that “he planned to attack the US embassy”, Rahman added.
The professor teaches management studies at the prestigious Dhaka University.
Various Islamic groups have been staging regular demonstrations in Dhaka against the US-made movie the ‘Innocence of Muslims’ but they had been kept several miles from the diplomatic enclave by the Bangladeshi security forces.
However, police appeared to have been caught by surprise by Monday’s protest. Few of those who took part had beards or were wearing Islamic prayer caps.
On Tuesday, US ambassador to Dhaka Dan Mozena met Bangladesh’s home minister Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir and expressed concern over Monday’s protests.
Alamgir told reporters that he had assured the envoy that the embassy would receive maximum protection.
Hizb-ul-Tahrir is a worldwide group which wants to combine all Muslim countries in a unitary Islamic state. The group is banned in some countries, including Bangladesh.