High Court wants all Bangabandhu sculptures across the country protected
Two complaints have been filed with a Dhaka court, alleging sedition for speaking against the sculptures of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Hefazat-e-Islam's Ameer Junaid Babunagari, Khelafat Majlis Acting Secretary General Mamunul Haque and Islami Andolan Bangladesh's Naib-e-Ameer Syed Faizul Karim have been named as accused in one of the cases.
The court, after recording the statements of the plaintiffs, ordered the deputy inspector general (DIG) of the Police Bureau of Investigation (PBI) to probe the cases and submit its reports by January 7.
In the other case, only Mamunul Haque, who is joint secretary general in the new committee of Hefazat-e-Islam, was named as the accused.
On Sunday, a petition was submitted to the Home Ministry seeking approval to file the cases.
In another development, the High Court on Monday ordered the government to ensure protection for the murals and sculptures of Bangabandhu across the country.
Muktijoddha Mancha President Aminul Islam Bulbul filed the first complaint with the court of Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate Satyabrata Sikder on Monday morning.
The second complaint was filed with the same court by Advocate Mashiur Malek, executive president of Bangabandhu Foundation.
Later, Magistrate Satyabrata Sikder directed the Police Bureau of Investigation (PBI) to submit reports on both the complaints by January 7.
Bulbul's case has been filed under Section 120 (b) (1), 124 (a) and 505 (a) of the Penal Code.
The case statement said: “By using Islam as a shield, the accused are making hateful, imaginary and provocative statements with bizarre interpretations of religion. They are engaged in conspiratorial sedition by creating hatred in the Bangali Muslim community about the Liberation War, Bangabandhu and the constitution.”
Moshiur Malek's case has been filed under Sections 120 (b), 153 and 124 (a) of the Penal Code. The case statement said Mamunul Haque threatened to demolish the sculpture of Bangabandhu in a meeting, which threatens the stability of the country and the government.
High Court order to protect Bangabandhu murals, sculptures
The bench of Justice FRM Nazmul Ahasan and Justice Shahed Nuruddin passed the order on protecting the sculptures and murals of Bangabandhu, as confirmed by Deputy Attorney General (DAG) ABM Abdullah Al Mahmud Bashar.
The court also directed the cabinet secretary to submit a report on the progress of the installation of murals of the Father of the Nation at all district and upazila sadars of the country within one month, the DAG added.
The court order is in line with a writ, following which the court in February ordered the government to declare March 7 as “Historic National Day” and to issue a gazette notification in this regard within the next month.
At the time, the court also ordered the construction of murals of Bangabandhu in all districts and upazilas within Mujib Year, asking the Liberation War Affairs Ministry to submit a report on the order. The ministry submitted the report on Monday.
Hearing on writ for Bangabandhu statue protection Tuesday
The High Court bench headed by Justice JBM Hassan is likely to hear a writ petition seeking directives to ensure the protection of all sculptures of Bangabandhu on Tuesday.
Supreme Court lawyer Uttam Lahiri filed the writ petition at the branch concerned of the High Court on Sunday.
How the sculpture controversy unfolded
On November 13, a rally under the banner of “Touhidi Janata Oikya Parishad” was held at Dhupkhola ground in Gandaria, Dhaka, to oppose the installation of a sculpture of Bangabandhu on the occasion of Mujib Year.
On the same day, Mamunul publicly opposed the installation of Bangabandhu’s sculpture at the Shan-e Risalat Conference, organized by Bangladesh Khelafat Jubo Majlis at BMA Auditorium in Dhaka.
On November 27, Hefazat leader Babunagari in a mahfil in Chittagong's Hathazari upazila threatened to "tear down" any sculpture set up by any party.
Amid various programs across the country in protest against such statements, an under-construction sculpture of Bangabandhu was vandalized in Kushtia early on Saturday.
Police on Sunday arrested four people, including two teachers of Jugia Paschimpara Ibn Mas'ud (RA) Madrasa in the town, in connection with the vandalism.
Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Khandakar Mohiuddin said the arrestees had smashed the sculpture after being instigated by the speeches of Faizul Karim and Mamunul Haque.
In the wake of these incidents, Supreme Court lawyer and Swechchhasebak League leader Mohammad Zeeshan Mahmud on Sunday applied to the Home Ministry for permission to file another sedition case against Junaid Babunagari and Mamunul Haque.