Dhaka ‘soft’ on Islamist groups: media


Dhaka : The Bangladesh government is ‘soft’ on Islamist groups, allowing their violent protests against a proposed women’s development law despite a national emergency in force, the media alleged Sunday.

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An editorial in the New Age newspaper contrasted this with the crackdown on workers of non-religious bodies since the emergency was imposed in January last year.

“It appears from the clashes Thursday and Friday that the police have been instructed by the higher authorities of the government to take beatings from the Islamists without any effective retaliation,” the newspaper said.

“The behaviour of the incumbents, in this case, resembles very much that of the past governments who used to pander to a varying degree though to these obscurantist elements on the grounds that a tough attitude would hurt the sentiments of a section of the voters,” said the editorial.

The Islamist bodies who have forged a front called the Islami Shasontantra Andolan (ISA), say that the “National Women’s Development Policy”, the details of which are not known, was “anti-Quran”.

Giving a five-day ultimatum to scrap the policy, they have sought the government’s resignation.

Over 200 people, including 52 policemen, have been injured in pitched battles outside the Baitul Muqarram Mosque in Dhaka. Protest rallies led to violence in the Chittagong as well.

The policy received full support from Bangladesh’s Chief Justice M. Ruhul Amin at a seminar Friday.