Published: Friday, April 5, 2013

April 6 Long March

No ban, yet virtual ban

Dhaka will be virtually cut off from the rest of the country and pro-government owners and workers associations will suspend transport.
Besides, ruling Awami League men backed by law enforcers will remain vigilant at different areas along the highways and entry points to the capital.
This is how the government, failing to dissuade Hefajat-e Islam from holding the long march, wants to tackle the situation tomorrow, sources say.
The administration claims to have information that pro-Jamaat and militant elements have already infiltrated Hefajat-e Islam and they might create anarchy.
Even so, the Dhaka Metropolitan Police yesterday gave permission to the Islamists to hold a rally at Motijheel, but on 12 conditions. These include no political speeches and no loudspeaker and rally outside the specified area.
The permission might be cancelled any time if the situation turns volatile, an official source said.
Hefajat, a Chittagong-based Islamist group, has called the long march apparently to gear up the ongoing campaign against the Shahbagh movement spearheaded by bloggers demanding capital punishment for war criminals and a ban on Jamaat.
However, the group says it demands restoration of the phrase “Absolute faith and trust in the Almighty Allah” in the constitution, enactment of a blasphemy law and punishment of “atheist bloggers”.
Meanwhile, the Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee and 23 other organisations have called a 27-hour hartal starting at 3:00pm Friday so that the Islamists cannot start their march soon after Juma prayers. Elsewhere, the shutdown will be observed for 24 hours from 6:00pm.
The government’s main worry is the large number of Islamists who have already slipped into the capital in the last two days. They are holed up in different areas such as Lalbagh and Kamrangirchar to emerge tomorrow.
Home Minister Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir yesterday claimed the authorities had information that militant operatives and Jamaat-Shibir men will carry out subversive activities under the banner of Hefajat-e Islam.
“Action will be taken against troublemakers at any stage and at any place,” he told reporters at his secretariat office in the capital.
About the possibility of imposing Section 144, banning gatherings in the capital, he said district magistrates concerned would take steps in this regard.
“We have information from different intelligence agencies and from within Hefajat-e Islam that there will be anarchy in the name of the long march,” Mahbubul Alam Hanif, special assistant to the PM, told The Daily Star yesterday.
“The government is taking all out preparations to thwart any violence,” he said, adding that the government would be cooperative if the long march was held peacefully.
Also yesterday, Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, acting secretary general of the main opposition BNP that has already extended support to Hefajat, criticised the government for creating “various obstacles” to foil the long march.
The Hefajat-e-Islam threatened to enforce a non-stop hartal from Sunday, if its programme was obstructed and the hartal called by 24 pro-liberation organisations was not withdrawn by 6:00pm yesterday.
If the radical Islamists enforce non-stop shutdowns, the BNP-Jamaat-led alliance will also come up with fresh agitation programmes to intensify the movement to oust the government.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said she feared the evil forces might resort to violence centring on the long march of Hefajat-e Islam tomorrow.
While exchanging views with Qawmi leaders led by Allama Ruhul Ameen at her official residence Gono Bhaban, she also said banning the Jamaat was not possible right now through executive order because of a writ petition pending in the High Court.
The PM said her government was committed to take action against anybody who writes defamatory words against Islam and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
“As a Muslim I cannot accept any derogatory statement against Prophet Muhammad (pbuh),” she added.
At the meet, Qawmi leaders placed several demands that include rooting out the Jamaat from the country, banning all books of Jamaat ideologue Moududi, punishment to “anti-Islam bloggers”, government recognition for all Qawmi madrasas and declaring Qadianis as non-Muslim.
Endorsing the Hefajat long march, they also called for a withdrawal of the hartal of the Nirmul Committee and 23 organisations.

  • Dev Saha

    déjà vu! Is this another 1971 on our doorstep? Can we afford another one?