The Ganajagaran Mancha on Saturday renewed its vow to resist the hartal on Monday called by the Hefazat-e-Islam and announced fresh programme to press home their demands. According to the programme they will stage a grand rally on April 14 at Shahbagh Square in the city to press home their demands for capital punishment for the war criminals and imposition of ban on the politics of Jamaat-Shibir in the country.
They will also organise a day-long programme on that day as the mark of their protests. Spokesman of the Ganajagaran Mancha Imran H Sarker made the announcement amid great enthusiasm of several thousand protesters at the square.
The week-long programme will start with flag procession at 11:00am on April 8 to resist the Hefazat-e-Islami-called hartal. The processions will end to the Shaheed Minars in the protesters’ respective areas. The protesters also requested all to hoist national flags on their houses.
Students will observe strike in all educational institutions on April 9. However, the candidates of the HSC examination will not come under the purview of the programme.
“We will resist any kind of attack under the aegis of the Hefazat. We are also determined to realise the six-point charter of demands, including imposition of a ban on the Jamaat-Shibir and capital punishment for war criminals,” said Ganajagaran Mancha spokesperson Imran H Sarker.
He demanded unconditional and immediate release of four fellow bloggers who were detained last week on charges of hurting religious sentiments and making derogatory comments on the Prophet (PBUH).
The demands were made at a rally soon after rumours spread about an attack by activists of the Hefazat while they were returning from their own rally at Motijheel Shapla Chattar through Ramna Park. This sparked panic among the people at Shahbagh Square. Some of them took shelter in nearby hospitals, shops and the Fine Arts Institute of Dhaka University.
Hefazat activists were chased away by the police, who fired warning shots and a few rounds of teargas shells while Mancha activists came forward with sticks from the DU campus.
The police picked up five people.
The Hefazat-e-Islam vehemently protested against what it said was police action against their peaceful supporters returning from the rally. “The police have detained five of our people,” a statement by Hefazat leaders said. They accused some over-enthusiastic policemen and some so-called atheists for carrying out attacks on them.
The acting president of the Ekattorer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee, Shahriar Kabir, claimed at a press conference that the country has been split into two camps
— one a pro-Liberation force and the other an anti-Liberation one.
“The nation is now split between two camps — one pro-Liberation, another anti-Liberation. All must come forward to resist the evil forces with all their might,” he declared at a press conference while announcing fresh programmes of the forum of 27 organisations at the Teacher-Student Centre (TSC) of Dhaka University.
The programme includes formation of committees to resist militancy and fundamentalism in districts, upazilas, wards and unions from April 7 to April 13, exchange of views with hundreds of organisations in Dhaka on the formation of the committees on these issues on April 13, celebration of Poila Boishakh on April 14 and a call for its all-out celebration.
On May 3, a conference would be organised to resist militancy and communalism.
Twenty-seven organisations, including the Sammilita Sangskritik Jote (SSJ), Sector Commanders’ Forum and Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee, on Saturday afternoon announced that they would embark on the programmes as their next course of action against militancy and fundamentalism.
Among others, SSJ president Nasir Uddin Yusuf Bachhu and Shahriar Kabir were present.
Shahriar Kabir demanded that the government form a committee to investigate if Ameer Shah Ahmad Shafi of the Hefazat-e-Islam was involved in the Mujahid Bahini.
Condemning the attack on him and others at Mahakhali, he said: “The Jamaat-Shibir is now visible in every sector of the administration. The administration knew that such an attack will be launched against us. It was a pre-planned attack.”
Regarding the blasphemy Act, he said: “At a time when the Pakistan government is considering abolishing the blasphemy Act, we, a civilised nation, are thinking of enacting it.”
He further said that the 13-point charter of demands of the Hefazat-e-Islam was against Bangladesh’s laws and Constitution. “If the government implements their demands, Bangladesh would turn into another Afghanistan,” he claimed.
Criticising the religious leaders, Shahriar Kabir said: “They play dubious roles during the respective rules of the Awami League (AL) and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). When the BNP is in power, these leaders don’t attack minorities, but when the AL comes to power, they swoop down on them to embarrass the government.”
About the bloggers who have been detained, he observed that the way they have been presented in the media could imperil them. “In Pakistan, when anyone is arrested under the
blasphemy Act, the person’s face is covered while being taken to court, thereby concealing his or her identity.” He noted, “Here in Bangladesh it is diametrically opposite.”
Source: The Independent