In the first term of the Awami League government, in May 2013, Hefazat-e-Islam carried out violence against the blockade of Dhaka and its position at Shapla Chattar in Motijheel. Their goal was to bring down the government. For this purpose, this communal organization carried out massive violence all over the country including Dhaka that year. However, the government strictly suppressed their violence at that time. But no strong legal action has been taken against the Hefazat leaders and activists responsible for the violence.
Without disclosing his name, the policy makers of the government and Awami League told Kaler Kantha on Monday that if strict measures had been taken then, Hefazat would not have been able to stand up. For this, the policy makers want to correct their mistakes. This time their goal is to break the shackles of Islam in custody.
At the moment, the top three leaders of Hefazat are in the custody of the law enforcement agencies. Mamunul Haque, Junaid Al Habibi and Jalal Uddin are giving various disturbing information to the police on remand including anti-government sabotage plan. On April 16 and 17 of this month, the law enforcers arrested the three in a raid in different parts of Dhaka. After the arrest of the Hefazat leaders, the law-enforcement forces stopped the unruly cadres of the organization when they tried to create new sabotage. This is the first time that Hefazat-e-Islam is in a major crisis. The central committee of the organization was dissolved last Sunday night.
This time, on the occasion of the golden jubilee of independence, Hifazat carried out violence around the visit of the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi. Police in different parts of Chittagong, including Hathazari and Brahmanbaria, attacked, vandalized and set fire to public and private facilities. The sculpture of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was vandalized. Although passed in 2013, this time the scenario is different. The policy makers of the ruling Awami League are reluctant to give any concession to this extremist sectarian group. Shortly after Mamunul Haque’s blockade of the resort with women and the violence at the resort over the incident, Awami League leaders put pressure on the top echelons of the government to take a firm stand against his arrest and custody. As a result, the policy makers of the government were forced to move away from their previous position.
Awami League General Secretary and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader said in a virtual exchange meeting yesterday that Hefazat-e-Islam had abolished their central committee. But not only the committee must be abolished, the politics of communal violence must also be abolished. He raised the question, will the violence of political violence in Hefazat-e-Islam be stopped by forming a new committee? From his official residence in Sher-e-Bangla Nagar, he joined the exchange of views with Comilla Road Zone, BRTC and BRT officials.
Awami League presidium member Jahangir Kabir Nanak told Kaler Kanth that terrorists named Hefazat and militants have no chance to be released. Now is the time to destroy this terrorist group. Otherwise, this monstrous force will destroy the non-communal character of the country.
Asked about allegations that the government was indulging in a section of Hefazat-e-Islam, Nanak said the country and its people sometimes had to make concessions for the sake of peace and order. After the violence of 2013, it was thought that they would return to normal. But the violence that Hifazat-e-Islam has waged across the country over the golden jubilee of independence and the arrival of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi cannot be accepted.
Awami League joint general secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif told Kaler Kanth that the communal group called Hefazat-e-Islam was trying to destabilize the country again at the instigation of BNP-Jamaat. They have carried out attacks and sabotage in different parts of the country by vandalizing the sculpture of Bangabandhu and the golden jubilee of independence and opposing the arrival of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. That is why the law enforcement forces are cracking down on them.
After the 2013 riots, the government reached an agreement with Hifazat, which did not allow Hifazat leaders and activists to face severe punishment despite the devastation, Hanif said, adding that such allegations against the government were not correct. The Awami League came to power with the promise of development of the country and security of life and property of the people. So the government is trying to keep the political and social environment stable all the time. That is why he has had to take different steps at different times.
Meanwhile, at a press conference in Dhaka yesterday, an organization called Ahl-e-Sunnat demanded a permanent ban on Hefazat-e-Islam. Ahl-e-Sunnat has accused them of creating religious and political chaos, militancy and conducting anti-state activities. They raised these allegations at a press conference held at Dhaka Reporters’ Unity.