Govt little worried over anti-Ahamadia ultimatum
The government appears little concerned about a one-week ultimatum by religious bigots to declare the Ahamadias non-Muslims and has made no move to resolve the crisis that many fear may escalate into a deadly violence.
Highly placed sources said it was clear that a faction of a ruling coalition partner was backing the anti-Ahamadia campaign, but coalition leader BNP did not take any initiative to discuss the issue with them.
The anti-Ahamadia group gave the government the ultimatum from a hate-filled demonstration of over 30,000 people in Tejgaon on Friday, raising the spectre of violence.
Intelligence reports suggest anti-Ahamadia activists may kill one of their men during the siege to an Ahamadia mosque to lay the blame on Ahamadias in an attempt to foment violence. A top IOJ leader on condition of anonymity said they were committed to stepping up the anti-Ahamadia movement for the declaration of the sect as non-Muslim.
Talking to The Daily Star, several policymakers of Bangladesh Nationalist Party and senior ministers expressed worry about the anti-Ahmadia campaign in different parts of the country.
I think this religious phenomenon is a ball of fire
it is still far from us, but it may take a serious turn if the government does not take immediate steps to check religious fanaticism, one of them said.
Another senior minister said it was wise for the government to immediately sit with the leaders of Islami Oikya Jote (IOJ) who are directly participating in anti-Ahamadia agitations.
High government sources said a number of western nations expressed concern over the rising anti-Ahamadia outrages and wanted to know the official views about the problem.
A European diplomat told The Daily Star yesterday that his country was closely watching the developments, adding Dhaka should take immediate steps to stop attacks on Ahamadias.
My country does not support fundamentalism and declaration of the Ahamadias as non-Muslims. The Ahamadias are not at all troublemakers and they should be allowed to follow their own faith, he added.
Sources at the Prime Ministers Office said they were receiving faxed messages of concerns from different countries, especially from the EU countries.
An influential official at the PMO said that the government took all measures to stop attacks on Ahamadia targets.
All law enforcement agencies have been instructed to stop attacks on Ahamadias and identify the people provoking people against the sect.
The government has no plan to accept the anti-Ahamadias demand for declaration of the sect as non-Muslim. The government would not allow anyone to spread religious fanaticism, said an important minister.
Home ministry officials said the issue should be resolved politically, as it could not be stopped only by use of force.
Religion is a very serious issue and the government should initiate a dialogue with both the Ahamadias and anti-Ahamadias immediately, a high official said.
Police have so far been able to contain violence, but it would not be possible for long.
Intelligence reports suggest anti-Ahamadia activists may kill one of their men during the siege to an Ahamadia mosque to lay the blame on Ahamadias in an attempt to foment violence.
A top IOJ leader on condition of anonymity said they were committed to stepping up the anti-Ahamadia movement for the declaration of the sect as non-Muslim.
Well do everything necessary to intensify the movement involving a large number of people.
Official sources said State Minister for Home Lutfozzaman Babar yesterday held an over-three-hour meeting with top intelligence agents at his office and asked them to identify the people behind the anti-Ahamadia movement.
Sources said intelligence agencies are examining the probable factors of political provocation and foreign funds behind the movement.