‘Meet demands or face tougher movements on April 2,’ says Hefazat-e-Islam Bangladesh
After the dawn to dusk general strike, Hefazat-e-Islam has said that they will come back with tougher movements from April 2, if their demands are not met.
The party said it will organize prayers for their fellow activists who were killed amid clashes between police and Awami League supporters across the country and will not extend the hartal due to the upcoming Shab-e-Barat, to be observed on Monday night.
Joint Secretary-General of Hefazat-e-Islam Bangladesh Mawlana Mamunul Haque made the demands from a press briefing held at the Paltan area of the capital on Sunday.
He demanded legal action against those involved in the attack, proper treatment of the injured, and release of those detained. Failing which, tougher actions will be taken.
Hefazat-e-Islam Bangladesh Secretary-General Nurul Islam on Sunday said they are not extending the hartal, but will bring out a protest rally on April 2.
Earlier, two senior leaders of Hefazat-e-Islam called for extending ongoing hartal to Monday, on Sunday morning.
"At least 17 Hefazat activists were killed since Friday in police action. Of them, 12 in Brahmanbaria, four in Chittagong, and one in Dhaka," Nurul Islam said at a briefing after their strike ended.
Nurul Islam further said: "Those involved in killing our activists must be brought under trial. And the families of the victims should be compensated."
The Hefazat secretary-general also claimed that over 500 Hefazat activists were injured during the clashes and 200 were detained.
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Meanwhile Hefazat-e-Islam’s amir Junayed Babunagari has demanded the suspension of Hathazari police station OC Rafiqul Islam.
He made the demand from a press briefing held at Hathazari madrasa around 3pm Sunday.
He further demanded compensation for the families of the Hefazat activists, who lost their lives during the anti-Modi protests, and release of those detained, and medical attention of their injured activists.
Failing which, he said, Hefazat will impose tougher programs in the days to come after discussions with all the top leaders of the political party.
Meanwhile, Hefazat's Publicity Secretary Moulana Noman Farazi said: "The nationwide hartal called on Sunday was observed peacefully. The duration of hartal has not been extended as the holy Shab-e-Barat will be observed tomorrow [on Monday]."
Addressing a rally on the premises of Baitul Mukarram mosque, Mamunul warned of “paralyzing the whole country” if any more Hefazat supporters were attacked.
“Hefazat-e-Islam is observing the strike peacefully”, he added.
On Friday, the Islamist group had announced the hartal for Sunday, in protest against the deaths of its activists in Chittagong and Brahmanbaria during demonstrations protesting the Bangladesh visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
During Sunday's daylong strike, Hefazat activists turned violent in some parts of the country, vandalizing and torching vehicles in Dhaka and Rajshahi, and attacking government offices in Brahmanbaria.
They also attacked at a Chittagong-bound train in Brahmanbaria, forcing railway authorities to halt trains on Dhaka-Chittagong and Dhaka-Sylhet routes.
Hefazat supporters also blocked the Dhaka-Sylhet and Dhaka-Chittagong highways. Reports of sporadic processions came in from some locations in the capital in the morning.
Earlier on Saturday, five people were killed and several others were injured when demonstrators protesting Modi’s visit to Bangladesh clashed with police and BGB troopers in Brahmanbaria.
The death toll from Saturday’s clash reached six on Sunday as another Hefazat activist succumbed to his injuries at the Brahmanbaria General Hospital.