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Dhaka Tribune

Govt still “soft” on Hefazat

Update : 07 Apr 2013, 11:41 AM

The government approach is still flexible towards Islamist group Hefazat-e-Islam Bangladesh, and it wants to continue talks with its leadership and other Islamist organisations to reach a mutually amicable solution to their differences.

Ruling Awami League high-ups say the government wants to evade any instigation ahead of the next general elections, as it thinks this would not benefit the grand alliance government.

They, however, believe that Jamaat-e-Islami and BNP men were behind the long-march programme and the rally in order to make the government unstable.

Many party leaders believe that the government should have sat with Hefazat and the other like-minded Islamic parties much earlier. They also think that the stand-off could still be resolved through talks.

Party leaders say the government is closely monitoring the activities of Hefazat and that it would not take any initiatives that may incite Hefazat to take stance against it. Rather, the government would consider realising several demands of the Islamist group to give a signal to different Islamic organisations that the government is "not against Islam."

The AL held talks with the Hefazat leaders before the long-march to negotiate over the programmes, but they ended inconclusively.

AL presidium member and textiles minister, Abdul Latif Siddique, told Dhaka Tribune: "The government is still tolerant. But it knows how to tackle the situation. It shall take the right decision in the right time."

Talking with Dhaka Tribune, AL joint general secretary, Mahabub-Ul-Alam Hanif, alleged that the Jamaat and BNP men were behind Hefazat’s protest.

The government would talk further with the Hefazat leaders, but if needed, the government would go tough, said Hanif, who is also a special assistant to the prime minister.

One of the members of the AL's council of secretaries told Dhaka Tribune that the government should have held talks with Hefazat leaders earlier. The government also failed to convince the Islamic organisations that no such cases of defamation of Islam and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had taken place.

The AL leader, wishing not to be named, was also in favour of holding talks with the Islamic parties to reach a solution.

During the Motijheel rally, Home Minister Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir held a meeting with six of his cabinet colleagues at the Secretariat. After the discussion, the minister assured the Hefazat leaders that the government would consider the 13 points raised by Hefazat. He also thanked the protestors for not carrying out any violence during their programmes. 

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