The accused claim they were inspired by the recent anti-sculpture statements of Hefazat leader Mamunul and and Islami Andolan’s Faizul
Police on Sunday arrested four people – all teachers and students of a local madrasa – for their alleged involvement in vandalizing an under-construction sculpture of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in Kushtia.
The arrestees were identified as Jugia Paschimpara Ibn Masʽud (RA) Madrasa teachers Al Amin, 27, and Yusif Ali, 26, and students of the same institution Md Abu Bakkar alias Mithun, 19, and Shabuj Islam alias Nahid, 20.
“Two students of a local madrasa damaged the sculpture of Bangabandhu. They have been identified as Abu Bakar and Nahid. Till now, a total four individuals have been arrested over the incident," Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal told the press in Dhaka on Sunday.
In the early hours of Saturday, miscreants smashed the under-construction sculpture of Bangabandhu at a key intersection in Kushtia town. The face and hands of the sculpture were vandalized.
The incident took place amid protests by various Islamist organizations across the country over the installation of a sculpture of Bangabandhu.
Meanwhile, the ruling Awami League, other political parties and socio-cultural organizations continued protests against the anti-sculpture groups.
The home minister said: “No one will be allowed to create instability [in the country] over the sculpture issue. The general secretary of our party has clarified our stance. We, who are involved in maintaining law and order, will not let anyone indulge in anarchism in Bangladesh."
He also said sculptures of many Muslim scholars, such as Alberuni and Ibn Battuta, were created in different parts of the world in the golden age of Muslim civilization.
“No one are vandalizing those. We want to say that building sculptures does not mean we are worshiping them; sculptures mean holding on to one’s memories and cherishing their contributions to the country,” he added.
He also pointed out that different Muslim and Muslim-majority countries have portraits of their leaders on their currencies and coins, and everyone carries those without any hesitation.
During a press briefing at Kushtia Police Lines later in the day, Superintendent of Police (SP) in Kushtia SM Tanvir Hasan said the miscreants were identified by analyzing CCTV footage of the areas adjacent to the crime scene.
“Two have been arrested for being directly involved in vandalizing the sculpture. Two others [the madrasa teachers] have also been held for aiding the attack,” he said.
“Those who harm state assets and go against the country will not be spared. We are investigating to find the people who are behind this incident,” the SP added.
A case has already been filed with the Kushtia Model police station over the vandalism, confirmed police sources.
Police at the press briefing attended by high officials of the district’s law enforcement agencies informed that the miscreants who carried out the vandalism confessed to their crimes during primary investigation.
The accused also said they were inspired and influenced by the recent anti-sculpture statements made by Mamunul Haque, joint secretary general of Hefazat-e-Islam Bangladesh, and Faizul Karim, nayeb-e-ameer of Islami Andolan Bangladesh, police added.