The Awami League-led government had no plans to ban all religion-based political parties, its Presidium Member Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim said on Sunday.
He told Parliament, “We will take measures against Jamaat-e-Islami. Those who still defy existence of Bangladesh, who don’t believe in three million martyrs, a process to ban them is underway. They will be banned.”
“But we won’t ban any other political parties,” he said.
The call to ban Jamaat-e-Islami, which opposed Bangladesh’s independence from Pakistan in 1971, has become intense during the ongoing movement at Shahbagh, which initially had begun early this month demanding death penalty for all convicted war criminals.
Many including Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and several other ministers of the government supported the call.
But the government is yet to outline how the Jamaat will be outlawed.
At an unscheduled discussion in Parliament on Sunday, Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim disclosed the plans to ban the rightwing party that allegedly espouses violence by using the Islamic religion.
The leftist parties want all religion-based political parties disallowed to pursue politics.
Selim urged the religion-based parties not to do anything anti-public.
Referring to the violence caused by Jamaat and its student affiliate Islami Chhatra Shibir, he said, “The party is using Islam to carry out terrorism and militant activities.”
He also held Jamaat and Shibir responsible for the murder of blogger and Shahbagh movement activist Ahmed Rajib Haider. “The outcome of this murder’s investigation will be made public.”
The Awami League MP demanded legal measures against pro-BNP Amar Desh and pro-Jamaat Naya Diganta, claiming the Bengali dailies ran reports on Rajib’s blog after planting false information there.
“There were no writings against religion on Rajib’s blog before Feb 15. Jamaat and Shibir did that after his murder. They instigated the people by hurting their religious sentiments. They had done the same in Ramu.”
He told Parliament that the BNP defamed Islam and Prophet Muhammad by supporting Jamaat, its key ally.
“BNP and Jamaat are connected by the same thread. They are backing all Jamaat activities. There is no difference between BNP and Jamaat.”
Joining the discussion, Awami League Advisory Council member Tofail Ahmed said, “This is the right time to ban Jamaat. It does not make any difference if Jamaat is banned, or not. But meaningful action is needed now to purge the country of chaos.”
He said Jamaat and Shibir were running propagandas and conspiring to create instability in the country. “This Jamaat had legalised rape and murder during the war [of independence].”
“They still don’t acknowledge independence of the country. The way Pakistani occupation force used religion that time, Ziaur Rahman had also given the chance [to them].”
Continued Tofail, “We must beware of those whose capital is religion and who want to confuse devout Muslims.”
The discussion had begun earlier with Subid Ali Bhuiyan’s remarks who said, “Islam is religion of peace. But using it, a quarter has become desperate.”
“You have seen Friday’s mayhem. Who are these people? Those who can tear the national flag apart, destroy Shaheed Minar and set prayer mats on fire - how can they protect Islam?” he wondered.
Independent MP Fazlul Azim said, “There is a democratic rule in the country. But the current situation of the country is worrying. The government has its responsibility, it also has the power.”
He said, “[They] are playing with fire by hurting religious sentiments. This situation must be firmly tackled. The evil clique which is rising must now be strictly dealt with.”
Azim also urged all the political parties to find a solution through discussion.