Mosque gate closure political game: BNP

BNP Acting Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir has criticised the Islamic Foundation for its decision to keep the north gate of Baitul Mukarram National Mosque closed on Fridays.He said the Foundation authorities have got involved in politics by taking this decision.
Speaking at discussion Friday morning, Fakhrul said, “The Islamic Foundation has kept Baitul Mukarram National Mosque’s north gate closed. I want to ask them, why the mosque’s gate should remain closed, because you have joined politics?”
He said Bangladesh has been a ‘liberal Muslim state’. “Hurting religious sentiments of 90 percent people of the country won’t be tolerated.”
On Feb 22 afternoon, after Juma prayers, violence had erupted in Dhaka and other parts of the country from anti-Shahbagh movement processions brought out by several smaller parties together. Baitul Mukrram’s gates were vandalised and the ‘Jaynamaz’ was set on fire on the mosque premises that day by a mob comprising supporters of some allegedly Islamist groups who clashed with police.
The Islamic Foundation Thursday announced to keep the mosque’s north gate closed after some parties under the banner of ‘Iman O Deshrokkha Andolan’ Wednesday called for a rally on the mosque premises on Mar 8.
Islamic Foundation Director-General Shamim Mohammad Afzal at a press briefing had said the Foundation would not allow a repeat of Feb 22 violence. He said they were determined to protect the sanctity and security of the mosque and that the mosque would not be allowed to be used for any political purpose.
Mirza Fakhrul Friday held the government responsible for the clashes and violence carried out by the Jamaat-e-Islami across the country Thursday after Jamaat leader Delwar Hossain Sayedee was awarded death sentence by the war crimes tribunal for his crimes against humanity during the 1971 Liberation War.
However, the BNP is yet to come up with an official response to the verdict against Sayedee, the number two of Jamaat, which is a key ally of the main opposition party.
At the discussion in the National Press Club, Fakhrul said, “General people were killed in the last few days like birds are shot. People of the country are living in fear.”
“I would like to tell the Prime Minister, don’t play this dangerous game. Don’t push the people towards conflict. Let democracy progress.”
He also urged the freedom fighters to come forward to ‘join the ongoing movement to protect democracy’.
The BNP spokesperson compared Thursday’s violence with the Israel-Palestine situation. “The government is pushing the country towards conflict. Thakurgaon is a small district. Police opened fire there too and killed six villagers.”
Fakhrul said the Prime Minister ‘did not say a word’ about the murder of Biswajit Das by Chhatra League activists in Old Dhaka, but she rushed to the house of a murdered blogger who had ‘insinuated the religion’.
The BNP Acting Secretary General also alleged that the ruling Awami League had always oppressed and repressed diverse opinions and was using a ‘different style’ now to maintain the one-party rule.

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