Home Minister sees steps against Mahmudur

Home Minister Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir on Tuesday assured the Shahbagh protesters of taking measures against Bengali daily Amar Desh Acting Editor Mahmudur Rahman and his associates as per law.

The minister came up with the assurance after the demonstrators submitted a memorandum to him at his Secretariat office demanding immediate arrest of the Acting Editor for what they said spreading communal hatred and instigating violence through the newspaper.

Alamgir said their demand was ‘logical’ and added that his ministry was assessing options against Mahmudur and his associates for spreading communalism. The ministry was reviewing the Special Power Act-1974, Crimes Control Act and Political Party Registration Rules-2008.

The minister said that the law-enforcing agencies would also remain alert to stop the ‘secret and open’ activities of Mahmudur and his subordinates.

From their Monday’s rally at Mirpur-10 intersection, thousands of youths – demanding death to the convicted war criminals of the 1971 Liberation War and a ban on Jamaat-e-Islami – announced that they would stage a demonstration near the ministry at around 4pm on Tuesday.

They announced the fresh programme after the government twice ignored their ultimatum for Mahmudur’s arrest.

On Tuesday, the protesters took out a procession from the Ganajagaran Mancha at Shahbagh intersection, now christened Prajanma Chattar, after 4pm but police intercepted them in front of the Matsya Bhaban.

Later, Personal Secretary to the Home Minister Aminur Rahman came there and urged the protesters to send a delegation to submit the memorandum.

A five-member delegation of the Ganajagaran Mancha led by its convener and spokesperson Imran H Sarker went to the ministry and submitted the letter to the Home Minister to reinforce their demand to arrest the Acting Editor for instigating the radicals to thwart war crimes trial.

Amar Desh and some other newspapers and television channels have allegedly been carrying write-ups insulting Islam and Prophet Muhammad, claiming that they were published by the Shahbagh activists on blogs and websites.

The life term sentencing of Jamaat-e-Islami Assistant Secretary General Abdul Quader Molla on Feb 5 by the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT)-2 angered the youths, prompting them to begin the sit-in at Shahbagh as they believed he deserved death penalty for his crime against humanity in 1971.

The protests have turned into a civil uprising and expatriate Bangladeshis are also weighing in.

Ahmed Rajib Haider, an architect, blogger and one of the organisers of the movement, was brutally killed by unknown assailants near his residence at Pallabi in the capital on Feb 15 – the 11th day of the non-stop Shahbagh movement.

Rajib used to write under the pen name ‘Thaba Baba’ in blogs. He tried to shed light on the violent nature of Jamaat and its student front, Islami Chhatra Shibir.

After his death, some newspaper ran reports terming him an ‘atheist’, ‘apostate’ and alleged that Rajib used to write against Islam.

On Feb 22, the BNP-leaning Amar Desh’s lead news headline, roughly translated in English, read, ‘Bloggers committing contempt of religion and court’.

Several thousands of religious zealots, apparently backed by Jamaat under the banner of some small parties, ran riot clashing with the law enforcers last Friday after the Juma prayers protesting against what they claimed was ‘anti-Islam campaign in blogs’.

The marauding Islamists vandalised the Shaheed Minar in Sylhet city and Feni district. They also vandalised the replicas of Shahbagh mass protest venue, the ‘Ganajagaran Mancha’ in Sylhet, Chittagong and Rajshahi.bdnews24.com

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