Inaction has gone too far
Ahmadiyyas in dire strait
Last month, the administration sat idle while anti-Ahmadiyya bigots wielding weapons and threatening violence besieged the Ahmadiyya community in Bogra and intimidated the local police into hanging a sign on the wall of the community mosque, “warning” Muslims not to mistake it for a “real” Muslim mosque.
Emboldened by the fact that the government did not lift a finger to either protect the religious rights of the Ahmadiyyas or to punish those guilty of violence and intimidation, the bigots stepped up their campaign of hatred at Satkhira on Sunday.
To add insult to injury, the injured also allegedly did not receive timely medical help from physicians at a local hospital.
As estimated 15,000 activists, armed with sticks and machetes, besieged the Ahmadiyya mosque in Satkhira, and threatened violence if the badly outnumbered and ill-prepared police did not acquiesce to the hanging of the offensive sign on the wall of the mosque. When the Ahmadiyyas attempted to resist, the mob hurled stones at them, injuring fifty people, including women and children.
Once the sign had been hung, the mob then proceeded to ransack the surrounding area, looting the houses of some local Ahmadiyyas. To add insult to injury, the injured also allegedly did not receive timely medical help from physicians at a local hospital.
The administration knew full well that this attack against the Ahmadiyyas was coming, as the bigots had announced their intentions well in advance, yet, once again, it did nothing to prevent this outrage.
This has gone far enough. It is not merely a question of the Ahmadiyyas’ constitutional rights, which the government manifestly has little concern for. It is also a question of simple law and order. The government cannot permit baying mobs to threaten, intimidate, assault, and ransack with impunity. These are criminal offences, perpetrated in broad daylight in front of thousands of witnesses.
The International Khatme Nabuwat Movement Bangladesh, which organised the attack and has been at the forefront of the movement against the Ahmadiyyas, has been permitted to continue its unlawful operations without hindrance. The close ties between the movement and elements within the four-party ruling alliance are no secret.
So long as the government chooses to abdicate its responsibility in stemming this despicable and criminal conduct by religious extremists, it is no wonder that the image of the country around the world would be seen sliding. The administration’s inaction demonstrates quite clearly that it has neither the will nor the inclination to keep the extremists in check.