War heroes vow to observe hunger strike
The Sector Commanders Forum, a platform of commanders who led the country’s Liberation War in 1971, yesterday vowed to observe hunger strike in front of the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban “if religion-based political parties are not banned by constitutional amendment”.
The war heroes also demanded that the government delete the phrase “Bismillah hir Rahmanir Rahim” from the constitution and withdraw the status of state religion given to Islam so that the spirit of the Liberation War is restored.
They said this at a views-exchange meeting on constitution amendment at the Jatiya Press Club.
Some of the discussants opined for calling for hartal if the government failed to meet their demands.
“The government will push the country to the brink of destruction if it does not amend the constitution in light of the spirit of our Liberation War,” AK Khandker, president of SCF, said at the meeting.
“Three million people irrespective of their religion and identity sacrificed their lives with an aim to build our country as a secular state. A democratic country cannot have a particular religion as its state religion. Besides, religion-based political parties should be banned in the country,” Khandker added.
“We urge the Jatiya Sangsad special committee and the government not to go wrong with this issues.”
Maj Gen (retd) KM Safiullah, vice-president of the forum, said, “We will be bound to observe hunger strike if the government does not meet our demands regarding constitutional amendment.
“People will treat you [government and the JS special committee] as betrayers if you keep Islam as the state religion and Bismillah in the constitution.”
Tofail Ahmed, an Awami League MP and a member of the JS special body on constitution amendment, said he supports all the demands of the SCF leaders but he cannot disobey his party’s decision on those issues.
Putting the blame on two former army bosses--late president Ziaur Rahman and HM Ershad--Tofail said, “They shattered all our dreams by incorporating Bismillah in the constitution and making Islam the state religion.”
Shahriar Kabir, acting president of Ekatturer Ghatok Dalal Nirmul Committee, said the government would put the country into a civil war if it does not amend the constitution in light of the Liberation War spirit.