The government and Election Commission should ensure that communal violence does not recur during upazila parishad elections beginning in February, observed Sector Commanders Forum (SCF) yesterday.
SCF acting secretary general Harun Habib also urged the voters not to elect anti-liberation, communal and terrorist forces or their supporters.
The statements came at a press conference SCF organised in the capital's Liberation War Museum to make public seven recommendations for the government to prevent communal violence.
SCF, formed in 2006 with the 11 sector commanders who led the 1971 Liberation War against Pakistan occupation forces, made the recommendations after visiting Hindus attacked after the January 5 parliamentary elections.
Apart from forming investigative committees and trying the perpetrators in speedy trial tribunals, the government should take strict action against the local administration and law enforcement agencies which failed to prevent the attacks, SCF suggested.
The government should compensate the victims, repair and reestablish their homes and businesses, and ban Jamaat-e-Islami and its wings taking into account the party's anti-Liberation War stance and association with war criminals and terrorist groups, SCF added.
SCF also requested that the government make public reports on attacks on minority communities following the 2001 eighth parliamentary election and try and punish the attackers immediately.
Lawmakers were requested to identify and resist extremist communal forces in their locality and ensure that mosque committees remain accountable regarding the abuse of loudspeakers in mosques in instigating communal violence.
SCF Vice Chairman Maj Gen (retd) CR Dutta reflected on the ideals and inclusiveness of the Liberation War and stressed the need of a pluralistic society.
“I did not fight the war as a Hindu, Shafiullah (SCF Senior Vice Chairman KM Shafiullah) did not fight the war as a Muslim, we fought as Bangalees,” he said.
SCF announced holding a “National Convention against Communalism and Militancy” in March to unite progressive democratic people against the rise of religious extremism and militancy.
SCF Chairman Air Vice Marshal (retd) AK Khandker, Shafiullah and Vice Chairman Abu Osman Chowdhury also spoke.