Eminent citizens yesterday demanded punishment of those responsible for the attack on Ahmadiyya community in Panchagarh and steps to ensure security of the community members across the country.
They also demanded that Awami Olama League, Khatm-e-Nabuwat and some like-minded organisations be banned “for their activities against peace and spirit of secularism.”
The citizens, including former justice, war crimes researchers and religious leaders, were speaking at a views-exchange meeting with Ahmadiyya community at their headquarters in Dhaka's Bakshi Bazar.
On February 12, six people were injured and many houses were vandalised when supporters of local Islamist groups attacked people of the community in Ahmednagar village of Panchagarh Sadar, demanding cancellation of its annual conference, scheduled for February 22-24.
“Everyone has the right to practise religion freely. Why then is the Ahmadiyya community facing repeated attacks?” asked Shahriar Kabir, president of Ekattorer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee. “Such incidents tarnish image of the government.”
Former Supreme Court justice AHM Shamsuddin Choudhury Manik termed the attack a violation of constitutional rights.
Security expert Maj Gen (retd) Abdur Rashid said, “We earlier saw attempts to normalise killings of free thinkers in name of religion. Now effort is on to stir up religious sentiments by identifying Ahmadiyyas as non-Muslims.”
Mobasherur Rahman, national ameer of the community, said a vested quarter is instigating people against Ahmadiyyas through spreading false information.