The government “compromised and surrendered to fundamentalist groups” by bringing changes in textbooks, limiting Pahela Baishakh celebrations and recognising the Dawra degree of Qawmi madrasa as equivalent to Master's degree, said a joint statement from 408 noted personalities.
The incidents hurt and frustrated the secular people of the country, said the statement, signed by Kamal Lohani, on Monday.
Such an ominous competition to have the communal and fundamentalist forces by side and using religion to go to or stay in power would push the country to darkness, it said.
“We demand the government stops such a suicidal game and urge all patriotic, democratic and non-communal forces to wage a united movement against such an unfair move,” said the statement, adding that the moves worried the 408 personalities.
On April 10, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina declared certificates of Dawra Hadith under Qawmi Madrasa Education boards as equivalent to Master's Degree in Islamic Studies and Arabic.
The distinguished citizens alleged that the recent changes had not been brought in the textbooks from class 1 to class 10 in a normal way.
They said the government was “creating a proper environment for creating militants” through such educations.
They questioned why “the government surrendered to the fundamentalist groups if it claimed itself to be a non-communal force”.
“The country's conscious and non-communal citizens are angered at the implementation of the suicidal decision of making the changes in the textbooks.”
“We vehemently protest such moves and strongly demand that the government takes measures so that such incidents do not repeat in future.”
Pointing to the recognition of the certificates of Dawra Hadith, the statement said, “We are in great fear thinking that followers of Hefajat-e Islam chief Ahmed Shafi who have grown up upholding the ideology of Pakistan would take position in different administrative posts of the country.”
Ahmed Rafiq, Prof Serajul Islam Choudhury, Prof Anu Muhammad, Syed Hasan Imam, Prof Ajay Roy, Rafiur Rabbi, Ahmed Rafique, Prof Kazi Madina, Anupam Sen, Abul Momen, Poet Golam Kibria Pinu, Mofidul Haque, Abed Khan, were among the signatories.