Eminent citizens today demanded punishment of those responsible for the attack on Ahmadiyya community in Panchagarh and steps to ensure security of the community members across the country.
They also demanded that Awami Olama League, Khatm-e-Nabuwat and some like-minded organisations be banned “for their activities against peace and spirit of secularism.”
The citizens, including former justice, war crimes researchers, religious leaders, were speaking at a views-exchange meeting with Ahmadiyya community at their headquarters in Dhaka’s Bakshi Bazar.
On February 12, six people were injured and many houses were vandalised when supporters of local Islamist groups attacked people of the community in Ahmednagar village of Panchagarh Sadar, demanding cancellation of its annual conference, scheduled for February 22-24.
“All in Bangladesh have rights to preach their religions freely. Then why the Ahmadiyya community is facing repeated attacks?” asked Shahriar Kabir, president of Ekattorer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee at the meeting.
“Such incidents are a direct attack on the country’s religious harmony… and tarnishing image of the government nationally and internationally,” he said.
Terming the attack a violation of constitutional rights, former Supreme Court Justice AHM Shamsuddin Choudhury Manik urged the authorities concerned to ensure punishment for the attackers through investigation.
“It was a terror attack,” said security expert Maj Gen (retd) Abdur Rashid. “We earlier saw attempts to legalise killings of free thinkers in the name of religion… Now effort is on to stir up religious sentiments by identifying Ahmadiyya community as non-Muslim,” he said.
Mobasherur Rahman, national ameer of the community, said a vested quarter is instigating people against Ahmadiyyas through spreading false information.