Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has taken strong exception to the allegation that her party, the Awami League, ‘patronises atheists’.
She also castigated the opposition BNP for being
hand in glove with the Chittagong-based Hifazat-e Islam, which took an
anti-government stance over the movement by Shahbagh-based Ganajagaran Mancha
seeking death penalty for those convicted of war crimes and a ban on
Hasina said this while addressing leaders of her party’s
Pirojpur district unit at Ganabhaban on Thursday.
Hifazat, believed to be
backed by Jamaat, has been branding the Mancha organisers 'atheists' since Feb
5, the day movement started.
Hifazat leaders have also repeatedly alleged
that Hasina’s government ‘patronises atheism’.
“I say prayers five times
a day. I start my day with recitation of the Quran. But I am called an atheist,
and believers are those who leave their beds after 12pm,” she said on
In an oblique reference to BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, she
added: “You’ve seen bottles when the house was shifted. They drink from those
bottles, sleep until 12pm. They’re (called) theists and we’re (called) atheists.
This is our misfortune”.
On Nov 13, 2010, the Cantonment Board took
possession of the house where Khaleda lived and was later forced out following a
High Court verdict.
The BNP lent support to several Hifazat programmes.
Its leaders were seen joining a rally of the radical group in Dhaka’s Motijheel
The Hifazat has been strongly criticising the government
for the May 6 law enforcers’ drive to evict its activists from the city’s
commercial hub where they were holding the rally.