Dhaka, Saturday, June 24, 2006
Declare Ahmadiyyas non-Muslim or ZIA will be taken over, warn bigots
Arif Newaz Farazi
Anti-Ahmadiyya bigots on Friday called for dawn-to-dusk hartal (general strike) on Sunday and Monday in areas under five Dhaka Metropolitan Police stations after their bid to capture a mosque of the minority Muslim sect fizzled out in the presence of a huge contingent of law enforcers.
They also threatened to capture Zia International Airport at around 10:00am on Thursday, Ahmadiyyas were not declared non-Muslim in the ongoing budget session of Jatiya Sangsad (national parliament).
The Khatme Nabuwat Movement Bangladesh, which has been spearheading the hate campaign against the Ahmadiyyas, had mobilised its activists and supporters at different mosques in Uttara and adjoining areas since morning.
After the jum’a prayers, anti-Ahmadiyya elements took to the streets, blocked the Narda-Ashkona link road and staged a rally in front of the Hajji Camp mosque in presence of members of police and other law-enforcing agencies.
More than 3,000 policemen were deployed at several points, including the Hajji Camp, the Ashkona community centre and the Ahmadiyya complex at Narda. Several platoons were on standby at the Khilkhet, Airport and Uttara police stations.
At the rally, leaders of the Khatme Nabuwat Movement demanded that the government should address the issue in consultation with Islamic leaders in the parliament by Thursday.
The rally over, amir of the movement, Noor Hossain, set off in a pickup van, fitted with several PA systems, for the Ahmadiyya complex, which had been cordoned off by the police since morning, with his followers on the trail.
He continued tirades against the Ahmadiyyas, terming them disbelievers, as the van rolled on, and claimed that his followers had bade their families farewell to join him and were ready sacrifice their lives for the cause.
Noor Hossain said he and his followers would drive the Ahmadiyyas out of the country through a series of programmes and would force the closure of the airport, secretariat, Bangabhaban and the Prime Minister’s Office if the government did not concede to their demand.
The police intercepted the procession in front of the community centre where they had already put up barricades.
Noor Hossain then requested the deputy commissioner (north), Obaydur Rahman, to put up a signboard at the Ahmadiyya mosque, which said, ‘It is a prayer room for non-Muslim Ahmadiyyas and should not be taken by Muslims for a mosque.’
As the senior police officials declined to do so, the bigots marched back towards the Airport Road for afternoon prayers.
As some of them tried to block the road and also damaged two vehicles, the police swung into action charging batons to bring the unruly crowd under control. Ten persons were injured.
After afternoon prayers, the bigots resumed agitation, this time in protest against the police action. They announced that there would be protest rally in front of the Hajji Camp today at 4:00pm.
When asked why the police had allowed the bigots to keep the road blocked for five hours instead of dispersing the agitating crowd, Obaydur Rahman said they had been asked to exercise restraint and only act if the demonstrators went on the rampage.
Abdul Awal Khan Chowdhury, amir of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat, told New Age that the agitators had been driven by ‘political rather than ideological reasons’ in their bid to capture the mosque.
He demanded security for the Ahmadiyyas as the fanatics attacked 25 Ahmadiyya complexes across the country in the past two and a half years.