Hifazat-e Islam has threatened sit-ins at places where they will face ‘obstructions’ during their long march from Chittagong towards Dhaka.
The radical group’s Secretary General Zunaid Babu Nogri on Friday alleged the government was following a ‘double-edged policy’ favouring the ‘atheists of Shahbagh’.
“We had hoped the government would assist in our peaceful programme but what’s happening now is against our expectations,” Nogri said at a media call in Dhaka.
He alleged the government was saying something but was doing something else like a ‘Munafiq’, an Arabic word referring to someone whose actions are different from and opposite to his thoughts, which he conceals. In the Quran, the word has been used to refer to those only pretend to have faith in Islam.
The little-known Hifazat came to limelight when they had announced to thwart the rally of the Ganajagaran Mancha in Chittagong last month.
Allegations have it that the organisation enjoys a close relationship with the Jamaat-e-Islami.
The group has announced a long march from Chittagong on Friday and a rally in Dhaka on Saturday to press for their six-point charter of demands including punishment of the said ‘atheist bloggers’ of Shahbagh.
Pro-liberation Sector Commanders’ Forum, Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee, Sammilita Sangskritik Jote and 23 other socio-cultural organisations have called for a 24-hour shutdown from 6pm Friday to thwart the long march.
Leftist parties have also endorsed the call.
Apart from them, protesters at Shahbagh’s Ganajagaran Mancha have also announced resistance to the long march. They called for nationwide road, rail and water transport blockades.
Hifazat’s Nayeb-e-Amir Nur Hossain alleged the shutdown had been called “at the insistence of the government”.
He urged people to join their 10am rally at Motijheel on Saturday and demanded the shutdown be called off, and warned of ‘tougher programmes’ otherwise.
The group’s Secretary General Nogri asked the transport owners to provide them with vehicles for the long march.
He threatened those owners who would not oblige them will not be allowed to operate their vehicles on the road in future.
Nogri claimed the government was cracking down on his party supporters and alleged they were being forcefully evicted from launches.
“The long march will take place despite all hurdles,” he said and added: “The government was creating obstacles after giving us permission [for the long march].”
He said such dual policy is called ‘Munafiqui’ in Islam. “The people will respond to this ‘Munafiqui’ in the next [national] election.”
The Hifazat leader also claimed the government had backed the shutdown call.
He urged his supporters to stage sit-ins where ever they are barred. “We’ll continue our demonstrations for years if needed,” he added.
Nogri said they would announce fresh programmes after Saturday’s long march.