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IS HEFAZAT’S STAND AGAINST PRINCPLE OF BANGLADESH?

29 Mar 2017

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Hefazat was formed in 2010, in opposition, to give women the same right of inheritance as men.

 It gained new recruits in 2013 after secular demonstration in the capital.  Thousands of people flocked to Shabag Square, demanding the death sentence for the perpetrators of crimes during the war of independence, when they sought to maintain links between Pakistan and Bangladesh, then known as East Pakistan, the better to defend Islam.

 

Hefazat was formed in 2010, in opposition, to give women the same right of inheritance as men. It gained new recruits in 2013 after secular demonstration in the capital. Thousands of people flocked to Shabag Square, demanding the death sentence for the perpetrators of crimes during the war of independence, when they sought to maintain links between Pakistan and Bangladesh, then known as East Pakistan, the better to defend Islam.
But radical Muslims published the allegedly blasphemous statement of various bloggers, discrediting the Shabag movement and regaining the initiative and placed a demand on13 points.

 

Hefazat from its inception kept a low profile without any political inclination and with pro liberation stand.  It represented poor people with little education, mainly country folk, who have always been despised by the urban middle class.  There is nothing transnational or terrorist about the movement but becoming radical in the course of time. The group is a tightly-knit coalition of a dozen or so Islamist organisations which have come together under one umbrella only in recent years. Hefazat has theological disputes with Jamaat, although the latter has given all out support to Hefazat in its campaign.

 

The rise of Hefazat mirrors the declining secular ideology dating back to independence. Bangladesh, the only country created on the basis of language and culture also served secularism as a basis for its identity during 1971, when the people united to break away from the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

The purpose of this column is not to find faults neither with the activities of Hefazat-e-Islam and its supports nor with the government. It is time for the government to give a thought, if at all, they follow the direction from these groups, which is against the principle on which Bangladesh was created 46 years ago.

 

The Care Taker Government during 2007, started the work of reforms in text books and Awami League after coming to power introduced the education policy in 2010. On light of that policy new books were printed in 2012 and introduced in 2013.  It was alleged that to enrich Bengali many subjects on Islamic thoughts were deleted and ‘Hinduism and Hindu writers’ were included on that list. In 2013, IslamisChatraSibir in their Facebook page “Baser Kella” mentioned the details of “Hinduism”, and “Hindu Writers” were included in the text books. Hefazat protested vehemently and some other Islamic Organisations also joined them demanding immediate correction in the text books. New Text books were introduced from January 2017 with many changes. According to some media reports, this is due to the pressure by Hefazat-e-Islam. The deleted write-ups are from’ Hindu’ and so called ‘atheist’.  It did not stop there, the name of the Chairman of National Council of Text Book always prominent on all the books earlier, was deleted being a Hindu as present Chairman.

 

Bangladesh a country created on language and culture, where it is not wrong to install statue of a woman holding a scale and sword in her hands outside the court building during December last year. The sculpture is wrapped in a sari, a Bangladeshi revision of the usual representation, the Greek Goddess Themis blindfolded and clad in a gown. Islamists oppose idol worship and consider the Lady Justice as anti-Islamic. Hefazat-e-Islam with other supporters organised a protest in Dhaka’s Baitul Mokarram mosque and demanded the removal of the sculpture immediately. This anti-culture or anti-Islam added with political mind-set spread its wing to the neighbouring state of West Bengal in India, where some politically aligned students group, who were against the trial of war criminals, demanded the removal of Sk. Mujibur Rahman’s statue from the premises of the government run Baker student’s hostel in Kolkata. Now question also can be raised if Hefgazat-e-Islam follow the principle of Bangladesh, on which the country was created

 

The purpose of this column is not to find faults neither with the activities of Hefazat-e-Islam and its supports nor with the government. It is time for the government to give a thought, if at all, they follow the direction from these groups, which is against the principle on which Bangladesh was created 46 years ago.




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