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Home  Worldwide  Bangladesh  June, 2006  Zealots call …
Zealots call for hartal, vow to shut down ZIA

The Daily Star
Vol. 5 Num 737Sat. June 24, 2006

Front Page

Police Foil Anti-Ahmadiyya Siege Plan
Zealots call for hartal, vow to shut down ZIA

Staff Correspondent

Click to enlarge imageReligious bigots yesterday announced a weeklong programme including dawn to dusk hartals in northern Dhaka on Sunday and Monday and a shut down of Zia International Airport on Thursday to force the government to declare Hazrat Mohammad (pbuh) as the last prophet in the ongoing parliament session.

Khatme Nabuwat Andolon Bangladesh (KNAB) yesterday made the announcement after it had failed to lay a siege to an Ahmadiyya mosque at Naddapara of Uttara in the capital as a continuation of its three-year long movement to force the government to declare the Ahmadiyyas non-Muslims.

The demand for a government declaration of Muhammad as the last prophet is an attempt by the zealots to create a legal basis for their main demand.

Noor Hossain Nurani, amir of KNAB, told The Daily Star, “After the bill is passed we will go to the High Court asking it to scrutinise the religious texts of the Qadianis and ask the court to declare them non-Muslims. Later we will mount such a pressure on the government that it will find no other way but to declare the Qadiani’s non-Muslims.”

Police however charged batons to disperse the bigots when they tried to offer their Asr prayers on Airport Road by blocking traffic. The police action left 20 people injured. The anti-Ahmadiyyas, however, claimed around 200 of their activists were injured including nine critically.

The zealots vandalised two buses creating panic among the commuters and disrupting traffic for several minutes. They also tried to hang a signboard on the Ahmadiyya mosque which read ‘a place of worship for non-Muslim Qadianis’, which the law enforcers foiled.

The amir of KNAB, later declared the weeklong programme, which includes a rally today in front of airport police box at 4:00pm protesting the police attack. The announced hartals will be carried out in Khilkhet, Uttara, Airport, Turag, and Tongi, five northern thanas of the capital city.

“No more peaceful programmes as the government did not pay heed to us even after laying seven sieges Qadiani [Ahmadiyyas] communities across the country in the last two and a half years,” said Nurani.

“We are now ready to shed blood, as much as the government wants, and if necessary to sacrifice our lives to realise our demands,” he said.

Several thousand Khatme Nabuwat activists armed with sticks and wearing headbands with KNAB inscribed on them in red and yellow gathered yesterday at the north gate of the Haji Camp at Ashkona of Uttara after the Juma prayers and held a rally.

At the rally, KNAB declared a three-point demand and issued an ultimatum to the government for fulfilling the demands before its tenure ends. The organisation demanded that the government declares the Ahmadiyyas non-Muslims, forms a foundation after the name of Prophet Mohammad, and that it recovers an Ahmadiyya mosque in Satkhira to hand it over to the ‘Muslims’.

Khatme Nabuwat has been carrying out hate campaigns against the Ahmadiyyas across the country since November 2003 and has been vowing to do whatever necessary to realise its demand.

After the rally, its followers marched towards Naddapara mosque at 4:00pm in an attempt to replace the signboard on the Ahmadiyya mosque, but they were intercepted by police in front of Ashkona Community Centre.

Although the fanatic leader had hoped that over one lakh Khatme Nabuwat activists and a thousand security volunteers would take part in the programme, only several thousand participated in the rally.

The outfit has been holding mass campaigns in Uttara area for the last few days and held processions asking people to join in the attack.

A large contingent of police and law enforcers were deployed around the Ahmadiyya mosque to ensure security of the minority community. Barricades had been set up on every road to resist the bigots’ attack on the mosque.

Meanwhile, the Ahmadiyya community at Uttara, who has been in panic for days after the announcement of the siege programme, yesterday passed the day amid tension and uncertainty.

Different civil society and rights organisations yesterday went to the Ahmadiyya mosque to resist the zealots.

KNAB earlier foiled a religious programme of the Ahmadiyyas in Sarishabari of Jamalpur on June 16.

Nurul Huda Abedi, principal of Jamalpur Aramnagar Alia Madrasa also brother-in-law of captured Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) chief Abdur Rahman, led the attack.

Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat, Bangladesh yesterday in a news release thanked the government for its ‘stern’ and ‘positive’ role in resisting the programme of the religious fundamentalists.

The release said the Ahmadiyyas expect that the government will continue discharging its constitutional duties neutrally in the future also.

Also thanking the media, civil society, rights activists, the Ahmadiyya Jamaat said ‘honest will’ of the government and the administration is good enough to resist the religious fanatics.

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