Bangabandhu statue vandals in Kushtia are ‘from a madrasa’

Police have detained two students and two teachers of a local madrasa over the vandalism of an under-construction sculpture of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in Kushtia.

Senior Correspondentbdnews24.com
Published : 6 Dec 2020, 12:33 PM
Updated : 6 Dec 2020, 02:31 PM

The detainees are Abu Bakr and Md Sabuj Islam Nahid, students of Ibne Masud Madrasa at Jugia Poshchimpara in the town, and teachers Al Amin and Yusuf Ali.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal revealed the information to journalists at the Secretariat in Dhaka on Sunday after the police said they had identified two vandals from security camera footage.

“If someone thinks they have become very powerful, they are wrong,” he said amid a clamour from Islamic extremists to stop building statues of the Father of the Nation.

Students Bakr and Nahid were the men seen defacing the statue in the footage, said  Khandaker Mohiuddin, deputy inspector general of police.

The men, clad in Panjabis and skull caps, could be seen walking towards the under-construction statue before climbing up a ladder and defacing it around 2am Saturday.

“They used hammers under the cover of the night. They got out of Ibne Masud Madrasa to do this (vandalism),” said the home minister.

The Kushtia Municipality took the initiative to build three statues of Bangabandhu at the site. Work on the statue targeted by the vandals was almost complete.

The right hand, face and parts of the left hand of the statue at a five-road intersection in Kushtia Municipality were damaged by the miscreants.

The act of vandalism has drawn howls of protests from different groups and organisations after it came to their notice on Saturday morning.

‘HIFAZAT MISLEADING YOUTHS’

The home minister said leading youths on to the street by inciting them with false information is “unacceptable”. “We will look into the issue,” he said.   

He warned the Islamist leaders of Hifazat-e Islam and other groups who have threatened to tear down Bangabandhu’s statues.

“We, who are in charge of ensuring peace, won’t allow anarchy or vandalism,” he said.  

A certain quarter is running a disinformation campaign on social media, according to him.

“I saw a little boy claiming on Facebook that Hifazat sacrificed more blood than the freedom fighters did in the Liberation War. They are drilling false, misleading information into the heads of the youth,” Kamal said.

Hifazat conducted mayhem in Dhaka’s Motijheel on May 5, 2013 for several demands, including punishment to “atheist bloggers” after Shahbagh-based Ganajagaran Mancha launched movement for capital punishment of all war criminals.

The radical Islamist group said a number of its supporters were killed in clashes with the law enforcers on that day, but could not prove it 

“We had asked them to send us a list of the people (said to be killed) with names of their madrasas and addresses. We haven’t got the list yet. This is the reality,” he said.

A reporter asked him whether the Hifazat leadership will face legal action as instigators of the vandalism in Kushtia. The home minister responded that it will depend on the investigation.

“All those whose name will come up in the investigation will be made accused,” he said.

He declined to comment on whether the government will accept Hifazat’s demand for a halt on the construction of a statue of the Father of the Nation in Dhaka’s Dholaipar to mark his birth centenary.

The plan angered the Hifazat leaders who subsequently expressed opposition to all sculpture in the Muslim-majority country.

 “It depends on the government whether it will review its decision. We (home ministry) will do our job of ensuring security,” he said.

“Bangabandhu is the Father of the Nation, the greatest Bengali of all time. The people will never accept that his memory will not be preserved,” Kamal said.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher