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Hefazat-e-Islam issues 24-hour ultimatum to shut down French embassy in Dhaka

  • Published at 11:28 am November 2nd, 2020
Hefazat_Rally_Baitul_Mukaram_Opu
Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

The march towards French embassy began around 12:10pm

Hefazat-e-Islam Bangladesh has issued a 24-hour ultimatum to the government to shut down the Embassy of France in Dhaka.

Junaid Babunagari, secretary general of the organization, issued the ultimatum on Monday after calling off their march and siege program near Malibag-Mouchak flyover of Shantinagar.

Earlier in the morning, a rally of several hundreds of Hefazat leaders and activists, who gathered in front of the national mosque Baitul Mukarram on Monday morning, started marching to lay siege on the French embassy in Dhaka.

However, the rally was called off after the rally crossed Bijoy Nagar intersection, following a police barricade around 1pm.

“Showing respect to the duty of law enforcement officials, journalists, and the emotion of the participating Muslim brothers, we are stopping here today,” Junaid Babunagari said while addressing the rally from a pick-up van.

Several hundreds of leaders and activists Hefazat-e-Islam Bangladesh seen gathered in front of national mosque Baitul Mukarram in Dhaka on November 2, 2020 | Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

However, he also warned: “We will not stop here in our next program. We will go to the embassy and destroy it if our demands are not met.

“[French president] Emmanuel Macron should beg for forgiveness. We will not return home until the government presses home the demands.

“Statues made in the name of sculptures should be taken down,” he added.

Babunagari also demanded declaring the Qadiani community as non-Muslim, since he claimed the committee members are enemies of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

“We are friends of the Prophet (pbuh) and our government as well. We want the government to stay for another 100 years, but the basic principles of Islam need to be implemented. And demands of Hefazat-e-Islam should also be met,” he furthered.

A top leader of the organization, Nur Hossain Quasemi, concluded the protest program through a special prayer. He also said that after having a discussion with the organization body, they will announce the next course of action.

Several hundreds of leaders and activists Hefazat-e-Islam Bangladesh seen gathered in front of national mosque Baitul Mukarram in Dhaka on November 2, 2020 | Md Manik/Dhaka Tribune

Before the march began, Junaid Babunagari demanded introducing capital punishment for anyone found guilty of insulting Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in Bangladesh.

He also demanded that the Bangladesh government sever all diplomatic ties with France in protest of the display of a caricature of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

He also urged all the Muslim majority countries as well as OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) affiliated countries to cut all the diplomatic ties with France.

“France insulted our Prophet (pbuh). We ask everyone to boycott French products. Keep French products under your feet,” he added.

The march towards French embassy began soon after the speech of Junaid around 12:10pm.

They also warned Bangladeshi political parties of having to pay a high price for refusing to condemn the incident and the remark of French President Emmanuel Macron in this regard. 

Several hundreds of leaders and activists Hefazat-e-Islam Bangladesh seen gathered in front of national mosque Baitul Mukarram in Dhaka on November 2, 2020 | Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

Blocking both sides of the roads, the march started from the north gate of national mosque Baitul Mukarram, guarded by several hundreds of Hefazat volunteers with whistles, where law enforcers were a few in terms of the number of protesters.

Most of the Hefazat supporters at the gathering were seen not wearing face masks.

Meanwhile, vehicular movement from Paltan, Motijheel, Bijoy Nagar, Rampura, Malibagh, Mouchak, Shantinagar and other areas came to a standstill during the march program.

Similarly, a severe traffic gridlock also clogged Siddhirganj area of Narayanganj on the Dhaka-Chittagong highway causing immense sufferings to commuters entering and exiting Dhaka.