Hifazat men escape from Shapla Chattar

Dhaka, May 6 (Priyo.com): Accumulated law enforcers, comprising Police, BGB and RAB personnel, launched a decisive drive early Monday to remove Hifazat-e-Islam activists from the city’s Shapla Chattar area.

The law keepers started to clean up the business area after Hifazat continued their protest beyond time they demanded. Having no option they fired tear shells and rubber bullets targeting Hifazat men from the side of Notre Dam College in Motijheel.

Simultaneous attacks were launched from the Dainik Bangla intersection at around the same time. The demonstrators are escaping from the venue now as Police kept chasing them.

Police sources told media that they started the drive at about 2.20 am and it will continue until the Shapla Chattar is cleared from the demonstrators.

According to police, there were some 50,000 people, most of whom are activists of Jamaat-e-Islami and its student front Islami Chhatra Shibir.

Earlier, denouncing police actions on his followers, Hefajat-e-Islam Bangladesh ameer Allama Shah Ahmed Shafi on Sunday said their 'peaceful' sit-in at the capital’s Shapla Chattar will continue until the 13-point demand is met.

In a press statement, Shafi also urged the government to accept their 13-point demand without creating any confrontational situation.

The statement claimed that three Hefajat activists were killed and over 300 injured in the brutal attacks by police and ruling parry cadres on their way to join the Shapla Chattar rally after peacefully observing their Dhaka siege programme.

Strongly deploring and protesting the incident, Shafi said the government will not be able to resist the Hefajat movement by resorting to repressive acts, the statement added.

However, the Hefajat ameer did not turn up in the rally due to ‘security reasons’.

“After Maghrib prayers, Ahmed Shafi left Lalbagh Madrasah for Shapla Chattar to join the rally with a large number of followers. When he reached Palashi intersection, senior police officials prevented him from going there citing security reasons,” said a Hefajat-e-Islam leader requesting anonymity.

Having obstructed by the law enforcers, Shafi went back to the madrasah.

The Hefajat ameer was scheduled to address the rally as the chief guest and announce their next course of action programmes to realise their demands.

The Hefajat began the rally at 3.00 pm after the end of its high voltage Dhaka Siege programme.

The rally of Hifazat-e-Islam at the city’s Shapla Chattar continued to surge as tens of thousands of people demanding implementation of their 13-point demand already poured in.

The rally formally began around 3pm with the recitation of verses from the Holy Quran with Dhaka city unit convener of Hifazat Nur Hossain Kashemi in the chair.

Leaders of different tiers of the Islamist group are now addressing the rally, threatening that they will not return home until the government meets their demands.

Ameer of the Islamist group Shah Shafi Ahmed will address the rally as the chief guest and is likely to announce their next programmes to realise their demands.

The Hefajat men started gathering at Shapla Chattar and adjacent areas from 12pm as the government finally allowed the Islamist group to hold its grand rally there at 3pm.

Activists of the group are joining the rally from different parts of the country in processions chanting slogans in favour of their demands.

The Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) gave permission to Hefajat-e-Islam Bangladesh for holding the rally at Shapla Chattar at 3pm on certain conditions, DMP Deputy Commissioner (Public Relations) Masudur Rahman told UNB.

On Saturday, Hifazat sought permission to hold the rally at Shapla Chattar today but police denied it the permission.

The much-hyped Dhaka Siege programme of Hifazat-e-Islam began after Fajr prayers early Sunday detaching the capital from the rest of the country.

Thousands of activists of the Islamist organisation blocked roads at six points -- from Abdullahpur to Tongi Bridge, Gabtali Mazar Road to Aminbazar Bridge, Babu Bazar Bridge, Demra Bridge, Kanchpur Bridge and Postagola Bridge shortly before dawn.

They were seen standing with sticks, different types of flags, including the national flag, while some reciting verses from the Holy Quran. Dry food like biscuits and puffed rice along with bananas were being served among the demonstrators.

Meanwhile, a series of violent clashes continued in the city’s Paltan and its adjoining areas for more than four hours from 11am between the Hifazat-e-Islam supporters and the police and ruling party men.

The law enforcers fired more several hundred rounds of teargas shells and rubber bullets to bring the situation under control.

Besides, a bus helper was gunned down and 150 others were injured in clashes among Hifazat men, Awami League activists and police in the city’s Bangabandhu Avenue area on Sunday.

Hefajat Demands

  • Reinstate the phrase “Absolute trust and faith in the Almighty Allah” in the constitution as one of the fundamental principles of state policy.
  • Pass a law keeping a provision of capital punishment for maligning Allah, Islam and Prophet Muhammad and smear campaigns against Muslims.
  • Punish the “atheist” leaders of Shahbagh, bloggers and anti-Islamists who make “derogatory comments” about Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
  • Stop killing, attacking and shooting Islamic scholars and madrasa students.
  • Free all the arrested Islamic scholars and madrasa students.
  • Lift restrictions on mosques and remove obstacles to holding religious programmes.
  • Declare Qadianis (Ahmadiyyas) non-Muslim and stop their publicity and conspiracies.
  • Ban all foreign culture including free mixing of men and women and candlelit vigil.
  • Stop setting up sculptures at intersections, colleges and universities across the country.
  • Make Islamic education mandatory from primary to higher secondary levels after scrapping women policy and education policy.
  • Stop threatening teachers and students of Qawmi madrasas, Islamic scholars, imams and khatibs.
  • Stop creating hatred against Muslims among young generation by misrepresentation of Islamic culture in the media.
  • Stop anti-Islam activities by NGOs, evil attempts by Qadianis and conversion by Christian missionaries at Chittagong Hill Tracts and elsewhere in the country.