Lawyers demand barring Islamic zealots from SC premises
Supreme Court lawyers yesterday demanded that the International Khatme Nabuwat Movement, Bangladesh be barred from the Supreme Court premises during the hearing of a case challenging the ban on Ahmadiyaa publications.
The Bangladesh Supreme Court Bar Association (BSCBA) also demanded punitive actions against Khatme Nabuwat operatives.
The BSCBA concern came at a meeting yesterday after Khatme Nabuwat zealots threatened senior Supreme Court lawyer Dr Kamal Hossain and demanded the resignation of Attorney General AF Hassan Ariff for performing his professional duties.
The threat of the Islamist outfit is not only an attack on the independent profession of lawyers but also an interference in the trial, and as such counts as contempt of court, the BSCBA leaders observed.
Barrister Rokanuddin Mahmud, BSCBA president, asked lawyers to prevent Khatme Nabuwat operatives from entering the High Court premises. “Since they are not a party to the Ahmadiyaa book banning case, we will not allow them to enter the court premises during its hearing,” Rokan said.
“We stand for religious Muslims, but we are against those who are using Islam for creating discrimination among people in the name of religion,” he said.
The constitution has ensured the independent practice of lawyers, he said, adding, “If anybody interferes with the independent practice of our profession, we will not only protest against them but will resist.”
The BSCBA leaders asked the chief justice not to allow the Khatme Nabuwat operatives to enter the court premises so as to ensure that they do not interfere with the duty of lawyers, hamper their security or influence the trial of the Ahamadyaa book ban case.
Last Friday the Khatme Nabuwat operatives declared Dr Kamal a ‘murtad’, or atheist, and ‘prohibited’ him from moving in the court for the Ahmadiyyas.
A Nabuwat leader, while addressing a hate-filled demonstration at Nabisco intersection in Tejgaon, demanded that Dr Kamal stop ‘mixing up’ with the Ahmadiyyas in 15 days and asked him to ‘establish himself as a true Muslim’.
“If you don’t comply, we will stop your vehicle in Dhaka,” the leader threatened.
Nabuwat leaders also demanded the resignation of the attorney general, since, in their view, he has not played the role he was supposed to against the Ahmadiyyas.
The Islamist zealots, who initiated the movement against Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat, Bangladesh in November 2003, had earlier threatened several civil society leaders, including Prof Kabir Chowdhury, poet Shamsur Rahman, writers Humayun Azad and Shahriar Kabir, as well as human rights leaders who condemned the movement against the Ahmadiyyas.
The Bangladesh Bar Council, meanwhile, demanded exemplary punishment to operatives of such organisations, who have ‘issued a fatwa against Dr Kamal and other dignitaries to attain their communal interest.‘
Bar council leaders yesterday asked the government to play a secular role and stop the fundamentalist movement, saying it is creating instability in society, tarnishing the image of the country and trying to create havoc in the judiciary.