“We don’t subscribe to what the Prime Minister has said. The government must meet the 13-point demand before May 5, or face the ‘Dhaka Siege’ by believers under the banner of Hefajat-e-Islam,” Qasimi told UNB on Tuesday.
He insisted: “The law must be passed in parliament by the deadline given by Hefajat from its grand rally in Dhaka.”
Hefajat from its Dhaka rally on April 6 gave the government until May 5 to implement its 13-point charter of demands, including the enactment of an anti-blasphemy law to punish those who disrespect Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and defame Islam.
In an interview with the BBC on April 8, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina firmly rejected the demand for a new anti-blasphemy law.
Qasimi also noted that some people are spreading lies on the stand of Hefajat on women issues. “Some people are spreading lies that we demanded a ban on women in jobs. It’s not our demand to bar women from jobs; rather we demand that men-women can’t freely mix with each other.”
“The boys and girls of Ganajagaran Mancha are living in the same tent at Shahbagh in violation of Islamic rules,” he added.
Qasimi demanded that the government must release all the activists of Hefajat arrested by police since the long march of Hefajat.
The government must also ensure exemplary punishment to Awami League and Jubo League men who attacked Hefajat activists from the preparation of the long march on April 5 till the enforcement of the strike on April 8, he said.
Qasimi also trashed Ganajagaran Manch leader Imran H Sharkar’s remark that Hefajat is an anti-liberation force. “His statements are false. We’re on a movement only to protect Islam,” he said.
State Minister for Law Quamrul Islam said one could be punished for blasphemy under the existing law of the land and there is no need for a new law in this regard.