“The so-called ‘Shahbagh youths’ are provoking terrorism. They’re running a negative campaign against Islam and Prophet Muhammad (PUBH),” he told a press conference at the newspaper office Saturday evening.
Mahmudur called the press conference hours after five cases were filed against him at Shahbagh and Ramna police stations for instigating militancy and fanaticism, and spreading falsehood to create anarchy across the country.
The Bangla daily has been allegedly publishing reports criticising the Shahbagh movement that entered its 19th day Saturday.
The cases were filed a day after the Jamaat-e-Islami and its student body Islami Chhatra Shibir attacked law enforcers and journalists, burned the national flag and vandalised Shaheed Minars to counter the mass demand for capital punishment to 1971 war criminals.
Demonstrators at Shahbagh’s ‘Projonmo Chattar’, who returned to the protest venue immediately after the start of Friday’s mayhem, demanded arrest of Mahmudur Rahman in 24 hours.
Amar Desh and some other newspapers and television channels have allegedly been running write-ups insulting Islam and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), claiming that they were published by the Shahbagh activists on blogs and websites.
Mahmudur said, “The High Court has already issued a ruling asking the government to shut down anti-Islam community blogs and arrest the offenders. But, instead of taking any measures against them, the government has been providing them protection of gunmen. It’s the government that is provoking militancy and speaking profane language … the government is the instigator.”
Criticising the Shahbagh mass agitation, he said, “The government is provoking terrorism and militancy through the fascists in Shahbagh. What the Shahbagh demonstrators are doing with sub-judice (war crimes) cases is an act of contempt against an independent judicial system.”
The Bangla daily Acting Editor continued, “Contempt of court cases are filed so frequently without proper reasons. Then why doesn’t it amount to contempt of court when demand of execution (of war criminal suspects) is raised from Shahbagh over a sub-judice issue?”
Mahmudur further said he was not worried about filing of cases by police or the ultimatum of the Shahbagh ‘Ganajagaran Mancha’.
“Threatening me with filing of cases wouldn’t work. It doesn’t worry me. Neither Amar Desh newspaper’s position nor mine against the instigators of terrorism and anti-religion campaign will ever change.”
He also expressed apprehensions of his arrest and said that he was ready for that.
“I’ve been informed that some lawsuits have been filed against me. Some say the number is four or five, while others say it is 20 and that I could be arrested. I’m in my office … let police come and arrest me. I’m ready…”