Intolerant ideologies such as these have no place in a nation as diverse as ours
Hefazat-e-Islam’s behaviour over the last few days has shown a complete disregard not only for the nation’s history and image, but also for democratic values on which this nation was founded.
This is far from an indictment of Hefazat’s beliefs regarding certain dignitaries who visited our nation in order to partake in 50 years of Bangladesh’s independence -- those are indeed irrelevant.
What we as a nation cannot tolerate is the policy of violence that the organization has seen fit to invoke in order to have its voice heard, its demands met.
Since the activists of the Islamist group charged the offices of the district administration, the local Awami League unit, press club, and municipality on Sunday, at least six people have lost their lives in the ensuing clashes that followed.
This was not all: Some activists were found throwing stones at a Chittagong-bound train which inevitably saw authorities stop rail communications from the capital and the cities of Sylhet and Chittagong.
This chaos is exacerbated by the blockade imposed by Hefazat-e-Islam leaders and activists on the Dhaka-Sylhet and Dhaka-Chittagong highways, putting a halt to communications via roads as well.
Such thuggery is unsurprising from the organization, whose activities most recently saw its members attack an entire Hindu village, and to say that violence has no place in a democracy would be nothing short of redundant at this juncture.
Intolerant ideologies such as these have no place in a nation as diverse as ours, a nation whose very existence is a testament to the power of unity in the face of violent oppression.
It is about time that we held these perpetrators of violence accountable for their actions and brought them to book.