Star will face action
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said actions would be taken against The Daily Star, the country's largest circulating English daily, for "trying to patronise banned militant organisation Hizb-ut Tahrir by publishing its poster in the newspaper" recently.
"Publishing a poster of a banned organisation in a newspaper means helping publicise that banned outfit," the premier said in parliament, to the cheers of lawmakers from the ruling Awami League and the opposition Jatiya Party.
The Daily Star on February 11 published a snapshot of the poster under the headline "Fanatics raise their ugly heads again". The photo carried the caption: "Taking advantage of the current political crisis in the country accompanied by wanton violence, banned extremist Islamist organisation Hizb-ut-Tahrir published and pasted posters in the capital in an attempt to foment unrest within the armed forces. This poster was found pasted on a wall in an alleyway near Bangla Motor intersection in the capital yesterday."
Hasina said, "It's most unfortunate that The Daily Star ... gave a huge space to publish a poster, pasted in a corner of Bangla Motor, of Hizb-ut Tahrir .... Perhaps none would have read that poster."
She was responding to a query of JP lawmaker Pir Fazlur Rahman on the government's steps to contain Hizb-ut Tahrir so that it could not emerge as a fearsome outfit like the Islamic State.
"Irrespective of whether [the paper] wrote it in a negative or a positive way, I think giving such a big coverage to the poster is tantamount to patronising Hizb-ut Tahrir," she told the House.
The prime minister said newspapers should not publish anything that might harm the country. "But I don't understand why they [The Daily Star] did this. However, we are taking appropriate measures against this, and actions will be taken against those who are trying to patronise Hizb-ut Tahrir by publishing its poster."
On February 15, a lawyer filed a case with the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's Court in Dhaka against The Daily Star Editor and Publisher Mahfuz Anam, Chief News Editor Syed Ashfaqul Haque and Chief Photographer Sk Enamul Haq for publishing the photograph of the poster.
About containing Hizb-ut Tahrir, Hasina said: "As we took appropriate measures against them, they could not resort to any subversive acts since 2009."
The outfit would not have been able to re-emerge "if Khaleda Zia had not started subversive activities, burning people to death and destroying vehicles and everything else in the IS style," she went on.
The PM alleged that Khaleda patronises Hizb-ut Tahrir and there was no difference between the activities of Jamaat, BNP and Hizb-ut Tahrir.
"We will take all necessary measures to save the country from their hands," she asserted.
The premier directed the MPs to mobilise people in their constituencies to form resistance against militancy.