Thousands of people on Friday took to streets across Bangladesh, most saliently in capital Dhaka and Sylhet, protesting against the deadly violence in Delhi that killed so far 42 people.
The protesters called on the prime minister Sheikh Hasina’s government not to allow Indian prime minister Narendra Modi to visit Bangladesh on the occasion of the Mujib Year celebrations.
In a mass protest in Dhaka under the banner of ‘Like-minded Islamic Parties’, Hefajat-e-Islam vice-president Nur Hossain Kasemi, however, urged the Muslims in Bangladesh to protect all non-Muslims and maintain communal harmony and peace.
‘We believe in communal harmony. Therefore, peace should be maintained so that no non-Muslim is affected here,’ Nur Hossain , also the secretary general of the Jamiat Ulama e Islam Bangladesh, told a rally at national mosque Baitul Mukarram during his speech.
The Islamist political leader also called upon prime minister Sheikh Hasina not to allow Indian prime minister to visit Dhaka on March 17.
Modi is expected to attend a public ceremony on March 17 to be organised by the Bangladesh government marking the birth centenary of the country’s founding president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
The protests were sparked in Dhaka and other cities and towns in Bangladesh by deadly attacks in Delhi since February 24.
Till Friday, 42 people were killed in riots instigated allegedly by Bharatiya Janata Party activists.
BJP activists are attacking people agitating in different parts of Indian capital New Delhi against the introduction of the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens by the Modi-led ruling coalition.
‘If Narendra Modi is allowed to come, the harmony in Bangladesh will be disturbed,’ the cleric-turned-politician warned.
He said that the next course of action would be announced shortly after a discussion at their internal forum.
He also called upon the United Nations, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, international rights groups and world community to ensure the safety and security of minorities in India and stop violence against them.
Addressing the same event, Bangladesh Khilafat Majlis general secretary Ahmad Abdul Kader said that the visit of Indian prime minister would be resisted by any means.
After the rally, several thousand people, guarded by police in armed gears, paraded the Bijoy Nagar street carrying placards saying ‘Stop killing Muslims,’ and ‘Modi is a terrorist’.
They torched an effigy of the Indian PM following the rally.
The police said that about 3,000 people joined the protest that ended peacefully.
‘During the rally, the people called Indian prime minister Narendra Modi to stop the violence against Muslims,’ said Paltan police station officer-in-charge Abu Bakar Siddique.
The New Age correspondent in Sylhet reported that leaders and activists of Islamist political groups and clerics on Friday staged demonstrations against the rampant killings, torching homes and business establishments of Muslims, mosques and madrassahs in India by ‘extremist Hindus’.
Bangladesh Anjumane Talamije Islamia Sylhet brought out a huge rally of some 10,000 people in Sobhanighat area after the Jumma prayer and held a rally at the Chowhatta intersection after parading different streets in the city.
Another rally, organised by the Sylhet city unit of the Jamiat Ulama e Islam Bangladesh and its student front, was brought out in front of the party’s office at Bandar Bazar in the city also after the Jumma prayer.
More than 5,000 Jamiat leaders and activists took part in the procession that gathered into a rally at City Point after parading different city roads.
These protesters too burnt an effigy of the Indian prime minister at the rally.
The leaders of these protests also warned against Modi’s expected visit to Dhaka on March 17.
In another agitation in Sylhet, several thousand people under the banner of Ulama-Mashayekh Parishad Sylhet, a platform of Muslim clerics, took out a procession from the Qudrat Ullah Mosque premises at Bandar Bazar in the city after the Jumma prayer.
They paraded a number of streets in the city centre and then held a rally in front of Sylhet Nagar Bhaban at Bandar Bazar.
The parishad leaders at the rally strongly condemned the Indian government’s indifference to extremist Hindus killing Muslims and torching their homes, assets, mosques and educational institutions.
In the capital city of Dhaka, later in the afternoon, left political parties in front of the National ress Club on staged demonstrations protesting against ‘extremist attacks’ on the protesters in Delhi.
The left protesters in Dhaka said that the Indian Prime Minister, his BJP political party and their religious front Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh designed the deadly campaign against minority Muslims.
They vowed to resist Modi from joining Mujib’s birth centenary programme in Dhaka on March 17.
Leaders of the Ganosamhati Andolan and the Left Democratic Alliance, a platform of left political organisations, made the remarks while addressing two separate rallies in front of capital’s press club on Friday afternoon.
Ganosamhati chief coordinator Zonayed Saki at their rally termed Narandra Modi a ‘religious extremist’ and the mastermind of the attacks in a bid to play the age-old divide-and-rule card between Hindus and Muslims in a bid to cement his power.
He also warned that such violence in India could spread a wave of communal violence across South Asia.
Chaired by Bazlur Rashid Firoj, the LDA rally was addressed by, among others, United Communist League central leader Abdus Satter and Socialist Party of Bangladesh central leaders Khalequzzaman, Hamidul Haque, Revolutionary Workers Party of Bangladesh general secretary Saiful Huq, Democratic Revolutionary Party general secretary Mushrefa Mishu, Communist Party of Bangladesh leader Kafi Ratan.
Meanwhile, left student organisations Bangladesh Chhatra Union and Revolutionary Student Youth Unity on Friday afternoon held separate rallies on the Dhaka University campus in protest against the attacks in Delhi.
At the DU anti-terrorism Raju memorial sculpture, protesters in a programme offered mass prayers in both Muslim and Hindu rituals for those killed in the Delhi violence.
Meanwhile, country’s 12 well-known citizens on Thursday expressed grave concern over the ongoing spate of clashes in the Indian capital between people for and against the new citizenship law of the country.
The citizens who signed a joint statement against the violence were Anisuzzaman, Abdul Gaffar Chowdhury, Hasan Azizul Haque, Anupam Sen, Hasan Imam, Sarwar Ali, Ramendu Majumder, Mofidul Haque, Tariq Ali, Mamunur Rashid, Nasiruddin Yousuff and Golam Kuddus.
Mentioning the loss of lives, arson and violence, they said that if the ongoing situation could not be contained, it might create instability in the region.
Terming India as a friendly neighbour and a proven ally for being the biggest help during Bangladesh’s Liberation War, they said that the ongoing violence in India might be detrimental to the peace, democracy, development and communal harmony in this region.
‘We also call upon the people in Bangladesh who believe in the spirit of our independence to uphold the country’s communal harmony,’ said the statement.
Besides, the Jatiya Mukti Council, Naya Ganatantrik Gono Morcha, Jatiya Ganatantrik Gono Morcha and Jatiya Gonofront in a joint statement said that the Indian prime minister was trying to destroy the unity of South Asia by provoking the ‘communal fire’.
In another statement, Sammilita Sangskritik Jote also expressed their concern and called on the Indian government to take effective and immediate steps to stop the violence in India.
Different social and political forces have been protesting the recently enacted Citizenship (Amendment) Act in Delhi and elsewhere across India through demonstrations, statements, and rallies.
Over the last few days the situation has deteriorated alarmingly, with violent attacks against the CAA protesters, they said.
The Left Democratic Alliance brings out a procession in Dhaka on Friday in protest at attacks on the protests against the CAA in India. — New Age photo
The Ganosamhati Andolan brings out a procession in Dhaka on Friday in protest at the death of at least 42 people over CAA in India. — New Age photo
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