Hifazat threatens to paralyse Bangladesh if Islam is dropped as state religion

Hifazat-e Islam has threatened to bring Bangladesh to its knees if the High Court repeals Islam as the state religion in its verdict on a writ petition.

Chittagong Bureaubdnews24.com
Published : 25 March 2016, 01:24 PM
Updated : 25 March 2016, 02:06 PM

The Qawmi madrasa-based organisation, which unleashed large-scale violence from its 2013 rally in Dhaka’s Motijheel, issued the warning on Friday, two days before the High Court is scheduled to start hearing the appeal.

The radical outfit’s Secretary General Junaid Babu Nagari said in a rally on the premises of Andarkilla Shahi Jam-e-Masjid in Chittagong that the organisation would announce ‘tough programmes’ if Islam was not to be retained as the state religion in the Constitution.

An 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.

They included former chief justice Kamal Uddin Hossain, Poet Sufia Kamal, National Professor Kabir Chowdhury, Prof Khan Sarwar Murshid, Prof Mosharraf Hossain, retired Maj Gen CR Duttta, Prof Serajul Islam Choudhury, writer Badaruddin Umar, journalist and writer Faiz Ahmed, Borhan Uddin Khan Jahangir and Prof Anisuzzaman.

Of them, only Duttta, Umar, Jahangir, Serajul Islam and Anisuzzaman are alive.

At a press briefing in Chittagong on Monday, senior Hifazat leaders had described the petitioners as ‘insane’ and demanded that a referendum be held, if needed.

They also announced the rally and a march for Friday.

Nagari in Friday’s rally also vowed to mobilise mob on the street who will be ready to shed blood, if needed, to prevent Islam from being dropped as the state religion.

"Law and order and peace will prevail if Islam remains the state religion. Hindus, Buddhists and Christians will be able to live in peace,” he said.

Nagari was in jail for a long time after the violence at Motijheel.

“Muslims will remain Muslims individually and by birth even if Islam is dropped from the Constitution as the state religion, but they won’t remain Muslim constitutionally or nationally,” he said.