The pro-Islamist Osamajik Karjokolap Protirodh Committee (body to resist anti-social activities) here yesterday tried to oust the sex workers and house owners who returned to the 200-year-old Kandapara brothel in the town but the district administrations resisted the bid.
The supporters of the committee agitated at Central Jame Mosque in the morning and held a rally there. The protest programme was declared on Tuesday immediately after the sex workers' return.
Terming the brothel a den of drugs and criminals, the speakers at the rally said they will resist the bid to restart the brothel at any cost.
Saying that the brothel was close to the central graveyard, a mosque and two madrasas, they vowed to continue their agitation and go for an indefinite shutdown in the district, if needed, to realise the demand.
Giving the sex workers a 24-hour deadline to leave the brothel, the speakers also declared that if required, hundreds of devout Muslims would sacrifice their lives to perform their religious duty.
Maulana Shamsuzzaman, Imam of the Central Jam-e Mosque, in his speech said, "Although the sex workers are also human beings, but being Muslims, we hate prostitution and so we will fight against it until kiyamat (the judgement day)".
"The people of Tangail do not want to see the brothel anymore and the authorities should create alternative employment opportunities for them", he added.
After the rally, they brought out a procession in the town at 11:00am and tried to besiege the brothel.
Police, however, resisted the procession. The processionists then staged a sit-in on the busy road blocking it for several hours.
The agitators also said their zohr prayers on the street and declared that they would not move from the spot until the sex workers quit the brothel.
Later at 4:00pm, an administrative team, led by additional district magistrate (ADM) in Tangail Sarwar Alam, went to the spot and talked to the protesters.
The agitators suspended their programmes till Sunday following assurances of steps by the district administration to resolve the problem within the given time.
On the other hand, over 100 sex workers and house owners were rebuilding their shelters while the agitation was going on in the town.
During a visit to the spot yesterday, sex workers' leader Lily, who had 14 rooms, said, she returned to the brothel knowing well that an agitation might take place. "I now fear none as I have no other option, she said.
"I want back my right to stay on my own land and the authorities should ensure my security. If they do not do so, we will die here but won't leave this place," said Marzina, another sex workers' leader, who owns 20 rooms at the brothel.
Contacted, Mahbub Hossain, deputy commissioner in Tangail, said they will try to resolve the matter after discussing the issues with both sides.