Anti-Ahamadia group gives one-week deadline to govt
An anti-Ahamadia group gave the government a one-week ultimatum to declare followers of the sect non-Muslims from a hate-filled demonstration of over 30,000 people in Tejgaon yesterday, sparking security fears and galvanising police and paramilitary BDR into broad alert.
Putting up barricades on Tongi Diversion Road, the demonstrators staged a rally at Nabisco crossing after Friday prayers in the presence of hundreds of policemen and other security agents. The roadblock halted traffic up to Mohakhali about two hours.
Over 1,000 policemen in riot gear were deployed to Nabisco crossing, GMG Lane, Volvo Lane and Tabani Lane and several platoons of BDR men were on high alert at Tejgaon Police Station to face any surge of violence.
The demonstrators, most in red band on right arm and red badge on the chest, shouted slogans against the Ahamadias and branded them as kaffir.
Marauding volunteers under Khatme Nabuwat Samannoy Committee, a new anti-Ahamadia outfit, screamed abuse at passers-by and even barred ambulances from passing through the road, kept off-limits to traffic even after the close of their rally.
The anti-Ahamadia leaders announced a series of programmes from a supporter-crammed makeshift stage on a truck in the presence of Mohiuddin Khan, a leader of the Islami Oikya Jote, a partner of the ruling BNP-led coalition.
The government has long ignored demands of Islamic groups. They will not back out of what they want. The government cannot go on without meeting their demands, Mohiuddin said.
The leaders burnt a copy of the Prothom Alo and asked all Muslims not to read the Bangla daily, branding it as the mouthpiece of Ahamadias.
They threatened the Ahamadias with arson in symbolic imitation of the burning of the newspaper.
The threat came after Mohammad Mahmudul Hasan Mamtaji, the imam of Rahim Metal Mosque in ward No. 37 in Tejgaon, led a group to attack the Nakhalpara Ahamadia Mosque on November 21, injuring about 100 people, 12 of them policemen.
Mamtaji, also president of Khatme Nabuwat Samannoy Committee, said: The anti-Ahamadia group would not be responsible for the fate of Ahamadias.
We dont want to take the law into our own hands, but we dont know what will happen to them, the imam warned.
Mamtaji said, If Ahamadias want to continue offering prayers in the mosque, they have to run it in line with the instructions of the committee.
Mamtaji also threatened that the Prime Ministers Office would be besieged if their demand went unmet.
The group vowed to launch fresh programmes from a post-Jumma rally in front of the Baitul Mukarram National Mosque next Friday and firm up their movement against the Ahamadias.
They will announce a broader movement at a Paltan Maidan rally on January 23 to press their demand.
The country will collapse if our demand remains unmet, said one of the leaders, asking the prime minister to discuss the issue with alliance leaders Fazlul Haq Amini and Motiur Rahman Nizami to decide whether or not Ahamadias are non-Muslims.
We have no way to back down, said an angry Bakkar, who joined the demonstration filled with slogans for jihad.
They cannot claim to be Muslims as they do not believe in Prophet Mohammad (SM), Khaled Hossain, another demonstrator, told The Daily Star.
The anti-Ahamadia group demanded withdrawal of 16,000 cases filed against members of the Khatme Nabuwat, an Islamist outfit, in the last 30 years, and dismantling of the Kadiani camp (mosque meant for Ahamadias).
Local Ward Commissioner Mujibur Rahman assured the leaders of the anti-Ahamadia group at the rally of freeing the mosque of Ahamadias and asked the angry demonstrators to wait a month before they take next steps.
Jamal Naser Chowdhury, ASM Monirul Haq, Forkan Uddin Ahmad, Abdul Khaled, Zafar Ullah, Abdullah Shahed, Mahbubul Haq and Mamtajul also spoke.
The Ahamadias offered Friday prayers in their mosque in Nakhalpara in police presence and vowed to save it from attackers.
We have been saying prayers in this mosque since 1946. But no-one intercepted us before, said Abdul Alim, khadem (custodian) of the Ahamadia Mosque, the high-profile target of anti-Ahamadia attackers.
We will not leave the mosque, bowing to their pressure, said a member of the sect.
Locals of East Nakhalpara plunged into a new swell of panic, as Mamtaji vowed to offer Juma prayers in the Ahamadia Mosque after grabbing it yesterday.
A leader of Jaise Mostafa, another Islamist outfit, Mamtaji threatened to push ahead with the anti-Ahamadia movement and declare jihad in the event of police resistance.
The Ahamadias submitted an application to the president, urging him to look into the matter and sent a copy of the application with 173 signatures to The Daily Star.
Although the inspector general of police said after the November 21 incident that law enforcers know for sure the violators of communal harmony and instigators, no action was taken against them until yesterday.
But a senior DMP (Dhaka Metropolitan Police) official said police took steps to tackle the situation.