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Protesters demand arrest of Islamist leaders Mamunul, Faizul for opposing Bangabandhu sculpture

  • Published at 04:56 pm November 28th, 2020
Muktijuddho Mancha shahbagh protest
Protesters holding banners demanding action against people opposing sculpture at Shahbagh in Dhaka on Saturday, November 28, 2020. Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

Muktijuddho Mancha blocks Dhaka for an hour, announces countrywide protest for Dec 1

Leaders and activists of Muktijuddho Mancha on Saturday demanded the arrest of leaders of the Islamist platforms Mamunul Haque and Faizul Karim for opposing the construction of the sculpture of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Several hundreds of protesters under the platform blocked the Shahbagh intersection in the capital at about 4pm and gave the authorities a 24-hour ultimatum to arrest joint secretary general of Hefazat-e-Islam Bangladesh Mawlana Mamunul Haque and senior Nayeb-e-Ameer of Islami Andolan Bangladesh Faizul Karim.

They demanded exemplary punishment for the two men for insulting Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and opposing the construction of Bangabandhu’s sculpture.

The protesters placed a seven-point demand that includes setting up sculptures of Bangabandhu at all educational institutions across the country and in all districts and upazilas.

The protesters demanded ensuring the highest punishment for those involved in rape.

They also demanded a ban on religion-based politics, and any politics in mosques and madrasahs in order to uphold communal harmony in the country.

The Mancha leaders also demanded that those who engaged in provocative speeches or spread rumours at religious gatherings and on social media be identified and prosecuted.

Also read - Quader: Radicals creating debates over Bangabandhu's sculpture

They called for reforms of the madrasa education system and increasing monitoring in the madrasahs through forming monitoring cells to prevent incidents of sexual harassment in madrasahs.

The protesters commenced their rally at 3:30pm on Saturday, and arranged a procession from the Raju sculpture in Dhaka University area to Shahbagh intersection. Later, they blocked the Shahbagh intersection for an hour to publicise their demands.

The platform also announced holding a human chain and protest rally across Bangladesh on December 1.

“All the units of Muktijuddha Mancha will hold the programme at 3pm on December 1 across Bangladesh. If the demand is not met, a strict programme will be announced,” Al Mamun, general secretary of Muktijuddha Mancha, made the announcement.

The event was organized a day after Hefazat-e-Islam Bangladesh chief Junaid Babunagari threatened to tear down all statues in the country.

"All statues will be pulled down no matter who they represent. We will tear them down," he said on Friday while addressing an event at Chittagong’s Hathazari.

Also Read - Babunagari: All statues will be torn down

“Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh would be run on the lines of the Medina Charter. There can be no statues if the country is governed in line with that charter,” he said.

However, the Hefazat chief also said: "Honorable prime minister, we respect you and Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. We are not your enemies."

Although Babunagari held an event on Friday, Hefazat-e-Islam leader Maulana Mamunul Haque, however, had to cancel his scheduled program on the same day at Hathazari Madrasa in Chittagong in the face of agitation programs led by Bangladesh Chhatra League in the area to resist his arrival.

Mamunul has recently achieved notoriety for insulting Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman by opposing the construction of his sculptures across the country.

After this, leaders and activists of the Chhatra League announced that they would resist Mamunul from attending the religious program in Hathazari upazila of Chittagong, which was why Mamunul had to skip the event.