They also demanded a ban on Jamaat-e-Islami and Hefazat-e-Islam
Thousands of protesters belonging to 65 self-proclaimed pro-liberation, socio-cultural organizations jointly demonstrated against the new leadership of Hefazat-e-Islam – newly-elected chief Junaid Babunagari and Joint Secretary General Mamunul Haque – for their opposition to installing a sculpture of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and “humiliating the constitution.’
They also demanded a ban on what they described as "radicalism-, communal- and terrorism-based politics" practiced by Jamaat-e-Islami and Hefazat-e-Islam.
The former is a political party without the necessary registration, while the latter is an association of madrasahs with no record in competitive politics, that nevertheless sees its role as defending Islamic values.
With the initiative coming from Ekattorer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee, the protesters formed a human chain on Tuesday around 2:30 pm from capital's Matsha Bhaban to Shahbagh intersection to publicize their demands.
The demands also include the immediate arrest of Babunagari and Mamunul over opposing Bangabandhu's sculpture, banning communal political organizations, and communal speech that becomes hate-speech.
They would also like to declare December 1 as Freedom Fighters' or Muktijoddha Day, and ensuring exemplary punishment for those who take any stance against the Liberation War.
While addressing the protest, Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haque said: “They [Hefazat leadership] should withdraw the statement opposing Bangabandhu’s sculpture.
“Otherwise, people believing in the spirit of the Liberation War will respond properly and the result will not be good.”
“They are very fortunate that nothing had happened to them even after giving such statements about Bangabandhu in Mujib Year. However, they better be ready,” he added.
Echoing the same, Awami League presidium member and former shipping minister Shajahan Khan MP said: "Unexpectedly, we are seeing today that when it comes to setting up Bangabandhu's sculpture, those fanatics who misinterpret religion have arrogantly declared to demolish it."
"I am protesting their stance and warn them our people won't spare anyone who opposes Bangabandhu," he said.
Sommilito Sangskritik Jote President Golam Kuddus said: “We think building sculptures will not create any conflict with religion.
“So, the people who are creating conflict with religion and sculptures have their own political interest behind it.”
“So, I am urging the general people to be united against those who are doing conspiracy to create unrest in the country and destroy the non-communal spirit,” he furthered.