Bangabandhu’s sculpture found defaced
Vandals damaged an under-construction sculpture of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in Kushtia town early yesterday.
The incident happens at a time when the ruling Awami League and several Islamist parties are at loggerheads over sculptures.
Kushtia municipal authorities are constructing the sculpture at Panch Rasta More in Thanapara area.
Robiul Islam, executive engineer of Kushtia municipality, said workers found the sculpture damaged when they returned to work around 10:30am yesterday. The criminals distorted the face and broke the right wrist.
SM Tanvir Arafath, superintendent of Kushtia police, said, "Several teams of police have started investigation into the matter."
Police are checking CCTV footage of adjacent areas to identify the criminals and that two have already been IDed, he said.
Robiul said a total of three sculptures of Bangabandhu are being built side by side at an estimated cost of Tk 35 lakh.
The portraits of four national leaders were also to be displayed near the sculptures.
The construction work was inaugurated on October 12.
Kushtia municipality Mayor Anwar Ali alleged that fundamentalist groups, who are against sculptures, could be behind the incident.
"We demand immediate arrest and punishment of the criminals," he added.
Around 7:40 in the evening, a microbus with no plates stopped at the intersection where the sculpture was vandalised. Two shot in the air were fired from the vehicle.
Police are looking into whether the two incidents had any links.
The recent dispute between AL and some Islamist parties originated when AL announced to set up a sculpture of Bangabandhu in Dhaka's Dholaipar.
Immediately after the announcement, the Islamist parties said they would resist the move, claiming sculptures go against Islam.
The Islamist parties include Hefajat-e Islam and Islami Andolan Bangladesh.
In response, different pro-AL bodies have been organising programmes in Dhaka and other parts of the country demanding arrest of the leaders of the two Islamist parties.
Meanwhile, AL General Secretary Obaidul Quader at a programme yesterday said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was handling the matter of sculptures of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
"We are in power. It will not be wise to show impatience over any issue. The prime minister is handling the matter. She will face everything with courage as she has tackled coronavirus pandemic," he added.
He said there were sculptures in many countries across the world and even in Muslim countries. "If establishing sculptures was not conflicting with Islam there, why will it be so in Bangladesh?"
Also yesterday, a section of Qawmi madrasa based Islamic scholars yesterday proposed that the government construct a tower of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman inscribed with the 99 names of Allah instead of a sculpture.
The five-point proposal called on the government to find alternative ways in light of the Quran and Sunnah to show respect to someone, saying that sculpture or idol were anti-Islamic.
The proposals came from a meeting at Jatrabari Madrasa in the capital with Mahmudul Hasan, acting president of Qawmi Madrasa Education Board (Befaq) and chairman of Al Hayatul Uliya Lil Jamiatil Qaumiya Bangladesh, in the chair.
Maulana Mahfuzul Haque, secretary general of Befaq, said, "Our proposal is to build Mujib Minar with inscribing 99 names of Allah on it."
Making human idols or sculptures for any purpose is strictly forbidden in Islam, he said.
He added that his organisation would seek to meet the prime minister to talk on this issue.
Religious affairs State Minister Md Faridul Haque Khan yesterday said the crisis will be solved within a week.
Talking to reporters after a meeting at the Jamalpur Circuit House, he said, "The Ministry of Religion Affairs is taking action on what needs to be done for a secular Bangladesh."
Besides Hefajat, Islami Andolon Bangladesh, and Bangladesh Khelafat Majlish have been strongly opposing the government move to construct the sculpture of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, terming it anti-Islamic.
Several senior ministers argue that sculpture and idol were not the same thing. They also said there are sculptures in many Muslim countries, including Saudi Arabia and Iran.