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Saturday, February 16, 2013
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Desperate, dangerous

Jamaat, Shibir try a few tricks to counter Shahbagh outrage

In desperation, Jamaat-e-Islami and Islami Chhatra Shibir are applying various strategies to occupy Paltan or any other important intersections of the capital to offset the Shahbagh movement.

Their techniques include not wearing their traditional outfit -- pyjama and punjabi -- during their “operations," police and Jamaat sources say.

“Apart from this strategy, Jamaat-Shibir has recently decided to mobilise activists and intellectuals from other Islamic organisations, especially those patronised by Jamaat,” a top detective told The Daily Star on Wednesday.

Law enforcement agencies say Jamaat was already in a crisis following the start of war crimes trial against its six top leaders. The crisis deepened when protesters at Shahbagh movement called for death sentence to all war criminals, including its leader Abdul Quader Mollah.

Against such a backdrop, Jamaat has also been planning to interchange its “trained cadres” between districts to carry out attacks and vandalism, law enforcers said.

“These tactics sometimes help avert arrest as those activists are unknown to locals and law enforcers,” a top police official said, requesting to remain unidentified.

Also speaking anonymously, a top leader of Jamaat from Chittagong division admitted this without giving any details.

Sources say Jamaat is also planning to engage its low-profile leaders and think-tank of less known like-minded organisations to get hold of an important intersection under the banner of olama-mashaek organisations.

Several Jamaat leaders themselves have told this paper that the party has never before faced such a political crisis since 1979, when it re-entered politics Bangladesh.

After the war crimes trial started in 2010, nine of its top leaders were detained on war crimes charges. Six of them are facing trial and cases against the three others are under investigation.

The latest blow came on February 5, when a group of online activists took to the streets rejecting the verdict against Quader Mollah, an assistant secretary general of the party, who was given a life sentence.

Protesters want death sentence for Mollah and all other war criminals, and a ban on Jamaat-Shibir politics.

In the changed situation, Jamaat-Shibir on Wednesday moved to seize the city's Paltan intersection, south gate of Baitul Mukarram, Dainik Bangla intersection or Motijheel Shapla Chattar. But police foiled the move.

“We are determined to stage the same type of demonstration again until our demands are met,” said a divisional-level Jamaat leader.

The party demand includes scrapping of the two tribunals formed to try the war criminals, and releasing all the Jamaat leaders detained on war crimes charges.

Since the start of its violent attacks on law enforcers in November 2012, Jamaat and Shibir have been applying various strategies to carry out attacks and vandalism across the country.

In some cases, it was a hit-and-run strategy. In other cases, Jamaat-Shibir men chanted “Joy Bangla, Joy Bangabandhu," a slogan used by the Awami League, before attacking police, detectives say, adding: "This is just to create confusion."

The party is also patronising anti-Ahmadiyya organisations including Tehrik-e-Khatme Nabuwwat to wage anti-Ahmadiyya movement afresh.

Jamaat is also patronising anti-Ahmadiyya elements to bring so-called Islamic leaders from Pakistan and India to wage a hate campaign in different discussions in Bangladesh.

In a surprising move, the newly formed Islamist party Tehrik-e-Khatme Nabuwwat on January 3 held a rally against Ahmadiyyas, a Muslim minority community, in the capital.

Well-placed sources say Jamaat was patronising Tehrik-e-Khatme Nabuwwat to create unrest in the country in the name of an anti-Ahmadiyya movement and keep the administration busy.

Under the banner of Khatme Nabuwwat Preservation Committee, a meeting was held in Gazipur on February 3 demanding that Ahmadiyyas be declared non-Muslim. Three anti-Ahmadiyya Islamic scholars, including Hanif Jalandari from Pakistan, spoke at the meeting.

Earlier in 2010, Jamaat and its associate organisations adopted a strategy of using Bangabandhu's name to continue with their activities among the children of different districts.

In doing so, Jamaat on March 18, 2010, opened a stall under the banner of Shishu Kantha Sangsad at a children's fair at Rajshahi Shishu Academy marking the 90th birth anniversary of Bangabandhu and the National Children's Day.

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Ironically, these tactics that Jamaat-e-Islami, Islami Chhatra Shibir members are using are the same tactics used by the Mukti Bahini during the Liberation War. The BIG difference is that during 1971, it was indeed a “war”, which justified the use of guerilla warfare. What these “hoodlums” are doing is creating chaos and an atmosphere of violence that does not surprise me, but it does echo last month the comments made by a top leader of Jamaat that stated that there would be a civil war in the country if the Trials continued and the jailed Jamaat leaders were persecuted. What needs to happen is to bring in the army to quell the rampage and prevent further division of the country. There are only a handful of activist while the majority is in “secular” state of mind and if indeed we are a democracy, then the majority will prevail.

: S.Rahman

The end of Jamaat in Bangladesh is near.

: naabaj

 

 


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