Jamaat gears up veiled campaign | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 25, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, October 25, 2012

Post-Eid Agitation

Jamaat gears up veiled campaign

Organising social, educational programmes at grassroots level

Jamaat-e-Islami men are waiting for a ''proper time'' to fight back the government with their strong presence in the streets when the opposition intensifies its anti-government movement after the Eid-ul-Azha.
Under the cover of social, cultural and educational programmes like study circle meetings, discussions, and Quran recitation competitions, grassroots units of Jamaat in different parts of the country are working to gear up political activities and boost the morale of local leaders and activists of the party.
Contacting several central and local leaders of Jamaat, it is learnt that the party men are now making preparations with the hope that the main opposition BNP will soon decide to go for street agitations against the government.
Jamaat is a key component of the of BNP-led 18-party alliance.
"BNP chief Khaleda Zia's latest call to wage a tough movement against the government after the Eid-ul-Azha has certainly inspired our grassroots leaders and activists," Jamaat leader and lawmaker ANM Shamsul Islam told The Daily Star recently.
Addressing a public meeting in Dinajpur recently, Khaleda said the 18-party alliance will launch a vigorous movement after the Eid-ul-Azha for "restoring democracy and saving people from repression."
Shamsul, MP from Chittagong, said they are now organising their activists as well as general people for a tougher movement.
“We, 18-party leaders of Chittagong, held a meeting in the port city recently to discuss the nature and strategy of the post-Eid movement,” he added.
Nurul Amin Chowdhury, secretary, Chittagong (North) unit of Jamaat, said recently they are using some tactics to communicate with their leaders and activists to carry out the organisational activities in the area.
Asked, Abu Taleb Mandal, secretary of Pabna district unit of Jamaat, said they still face police action when they bring out processions.
"But we continue to hold different indoor programmes to strengthen the party network," he said. "The party's grassroots leaders have already overcome the immediate aftershock of the government crackdown on the party high- ups."
Taleb went on, "Our grassroots leaders' morale has already been boosted. We are now able to hold a large gathering in the capital on a short notice. Now, we are waiting for an opportune moment to show our strength."
The party's grassroots leaders, however, are getting some opportunities to organise themselves as the local administration does not force them to keep their party offices closed, unlike the case with the central office.
Jamaat's central office in the capital has been kept closed since the police raid on September 19 last year following the party men's violent protest in the capital against the crackdown on party high-ups. The city office of the party has also met the same fate.
With the party's top leaders including its chief and secretary general now in detention and facing charges of crimes against humanity, some mid-level central leaders are running the party affairs over the telephone and by issuing press releases.
They also meet local leaders of the party in different areas of the capital to keep them actively involved in party programmes.
"We usually hold meetings at the offices of the party's thana units in the capital or sometimes at community centres with permission from local police," said Matiur Rahman Akanda, Jamaat's assistant publicity secretary.
Contacted, some district level Jamaat leaders said local leaders and activists of the BNP are still cautious about closeness with Jamaat since any joint programme (such as processions, meetings) with Jamaat men invites police action.
The Jamaat leaders said they believe this situation would end soon.

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