Call for calm, solving crisis thru’ talks
In reaction to yesterday's violent clashes between irate Islamists and police over the country's new women's development policy, members of the civil society and human rights activists called upon all to maintain peace.
They also wondered aloud why the khatib of National Mosque was not issued a show cause notice.
Questions were also raised regarding how and why bamboo poles and brickbats were kept in Baitul Mukarram National Mosque, and if some quarters were trying to take advantage of the situation to divert public attention from more crucial national issues.
Around 200 people, including 52 police personnel, were injured in clashes between the law enforcers and mostly Muslim men incited by Islamist obscurantist organisations who had been protesting the Women Development Policy 2008, which envisages equal rights for women in the country.
Workers of Khelafat Majlish, a militant Islamist organisation that wants to establish Islamist rule in the country, clashed with police in the capital over the same issue on Thursday, leaving around 50 people injured.
The protesters say the new women's development policy is anti-Quran, although the government earlier announced that it will not keep any provision in the policy that goes against the holiest book of Islam. It even formed a high-powered committee on March 27 comprising eminent Islamic scholars to review the new policy.
Acting Khatib of Baitul Mukarram National Mosque Mufti Mohammad Nuruddin was also made the convener of the committee, which is scheduled to submit its report within 21 days, recommending changes and amendments to the policy.
The deadline for the review committee's submission of recommendations is April 16.
Asked what could be the reasons for such violent agitations by Muslim men backed by organised Islamist forces, eminent educationist Prof Muzaffer Ahmad said, "There might be different motives behind such demonstrations."
The fundamentalist forces are being identified through the violent incidents, and their supporters might try to take advantage of the murky situation in an effort to divert public attention from more important national issues, he commented.
"Keeping a stock of brickbats and bamboo sticks in the mosque proves that they were prepared for the clashes. The khatib of the National Mosque should be issued a show cause notice," Prof Muzaffer said.
He said people should read the new women's development policy first before jumping into protests. The policy does not address the issue of women's inheritance rights, he added.
"The policy says women's right to retain their earned properties will be ensured," said Muzaffer, also president of Shushashoner Jonno Nagorik, a public policy think tank. The Quran does not deprive women of their rights to earned properties, he noted.
Calling upon all to maintain peace and discipline, Regulatory Reforms Commission Chairman Dr Akbar Ali Khan said every problem can be solved through dialogues.
"We are in favour of peace, not conflicts and violence," he said.
Asked if there might be ulterior motives behind such violent agitations incited by Islamist organisations, human rights activist Dr Hameeda Hossain said it might very well be so.
She said she does not see any logic in forming a review committee after the policy was approved by the council of advisers to the military backed caretaker government.
Earlier, various other women and human rights activists also protested the formation of the review committee.