Dhaka, Mar 5: Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dipu Moni on Saturday said the government is considering a demand by civil society activists to ban the country’s top Islamist party, the Jamaat-e-Islami, for spearheading ongoing clashes bordering on militant activity.
Moni said: ‘There has been a demand from the Projonmo Chottor (Shahbag Circle) and it is now everywhere that they be banned, that Jamaat be banned and government will definitely consider this’.
“And, the election commission will also have a role to play and so, we will consider. The kind of violence that they are now resorting to, there is nothing political in it. Its pure and simple violence and acts of terrorism,” Moni told media here.
“The people who have been participating in very simple, peaceful protest movement around the country. Lighting up candles and staying quite for three minutes or just hoisting flags or singing the national anthem or sending balloons, things like that. This protest is happening all over the country and we are completely aligned with it,” she added.
At least 60 people have been killed so far following the clashes triggered by the death sentence given to an Islamic party leader for crimes linked to Bangladesh’s 1971 independence war.
Top Jamaat-e-Islami leader Delwar Hossain Sayedee was convicted on Thursday for his role in mass killings, rape and atrocities committed during Bangladesh’s 1971 independence war.
The Jamaat leader’s supporters clashed with the police, attacked government offices and uprooted railway tracks in parts of the country.
Jamaat, the largest Islamic party in Bangladesh, is an ally of the country’s main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party led by ex-Premier Khaleda Zia and was a partner in her government during 2001-2006.
Commenting on leader of opposition and Bangladesh National Party (BNP) chief Khaleda Zia declining to meet Indian President Pranab Mukherjee during his three-day visit to the country, the Bangladesh Foreign Minister said it was unfortunate and ‘it should not have happened’.
“It’s very unfortunate that from party and from her side this meeting was called off. I can just say it’s very unfortunate. It should not have happened,” Moni said.
Khaleda Zia cancelled her meeting with President Pranab Mukherjee scheduled for today, citing security concerns. By Ravi Khandelwal (ANI)