The court will hear the rule questioning the insertion of Islam as state religion in the Constitution through an amendment next week.
The amendment made in June 1988 during the tenure of military dictator HM Ershad inserted Article 2A in the Constitution, which gave Islam the status of state religion.
Fifteen eminent persons filed a writ petition the same year challenging the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution.
Of them, only Duttta, Umar, Jahangir, Serajul Islam and Anisuzzaman are alive.
At a media conference in Chittagong on Monday, senior Hifazat leaders described the petitioners as ‘insane’ and demanded a referendum if needed.
“We abide by the court, but we hope it will not take any decision which will force the religious people to take the streets and cause a chaos in the country,” said its Organising Secretary Azizul Haque Islamabadi.
“Islam as a state religion in definitely a democratic right as it’s in favour of the majority. If necessary, the matter should be resolved through a referendum,” Islamabadi said while reading out a statement.
He said that the statement was finalised after consulting with their chief Ahmed Shafi, a hardliner, who had gone on record saying ‘slaying atheists had become ‘Wazib’ (something which is more important than Sunnah).
Since February 2013, at least five secular bloggers have been hacked to death in Bangladesh by suspected Islamists.
Replying a query from the media, Hifazat Secretary General Junaid Babu Nagari said, “In 1988, the court scrapped a similar petition. Why did the court now accept it?
“Petitions like this cannot be accepted in a country where 92 percent of the population is Muslim.”
He said that Bangladesh will lose its sovereignty without Islam as the state religion.
“We want to inform the court if the verdict goes against Islam as the state religion then a chaos might break out. We are requesting the court to read the people’s pulse,” said Babu Nagari.