Govt officials protest in more than 20 districts
As tension grows over the ongoing sculpture issue in Bangladesh, public servants across the country yesterday took an oath to never allow Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to be demeaned or disrespected.
They took the vow while demanding exemplary punishment of the vandals of an-under construction sculpture of the architect of Bangladesh in Kushtia in the early hours of November 5.
Other protests over the vandalism of the statue and also over radical Islamist leaders’ calls to tear down all sculptures were also witnessed across the country.
The protests came just two days after Hefazat-e-Islam Bangladesh said it is interested in sitting with the government to resolve the debate over sculptures.
The main event of the protest was held at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in Dhaka’s Sher-e-Bangla Nagar, where officers of at least 29 BCS cadre services attended under the banner of Sarkari Karmakarta Forum or Forum for Government Employees. A number of non-cadre government officials were also present.
Presiding over the event, Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary Ahmad Kaikus, said: “We, belonging to 29 cadre services, today pledge that we won’t ever cause the Father of the Nation to be disrespected, during our lifetime. We are public servants. The constitution embodies the Father of the Nation.
“Our job is to uphold the constitution…. We are here to promise the nation that we will never allow such incidents [insults to Bangabandhu] to take place,” he vowed.
Inspector General of Police Benazir Ahmed said: “Independence, constitution, the state and the Father of the Nation--- nobody can touch them. We will face them [the Islamist leaders]. Bangabandhu brought us a flag and a country.”
Bangladesh Administrative Services Association President and Local Government Division’s Senior Secretary Helal Uddin Ahmed, echoing a similar sentiment, said Bangabandhu is constitutionally recognized.
“Bangabandhu and the country’s independence are inter-linked. However, the anti-liberation quarter is still active and continues to deny his contribution. They are threatening to tear down Bangabandhu's statues. But we won’t accept and tolerate any kind of attack on or disrespect of Bangabandhu,” Helal added.
BSC Women Network President and Food Secretary Mosammat Nazmanara Khanum, BCS Health Cadre’s AM Selim Reza, foreign cadre’s Syed Masud Mahmud Khandaker, education cadre’s Syed Golam Faruq, Bangladesh Judicial Services’ Commission Secretary General Bikash Kumar Saha and Ansar cadre’s Shamsul Alam, information cadre’s Golam Kibria and public works cadre’s Engr Ashraful Alam addressed among others.
Govt officials protest across country
Government officials and employees have protested against the vandalism of a sculpture of Bangabandhu in Kushtia and provocation against the anti-sculpture campaign.
Officials and employees of the divisional and district administrations, different cadres and judiciary in several districts of the country yesterday arranged discussions to condemn the vandalism.
They expressed firm commitment to uphold Section 4 ‘Ka’ of the Constitution and said that upholding the dignity of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur was a moral obligation.
The protests took place in more than 20 districts, including Narayanganj, Rangpur, Brahmanbaria, Madaripur, Nilphamari, Kurigram, Barisal, Pabna, Cox’s Bazar, Chuadanga, Panchagarh, Gopalganj, Munshiganj, Dinajpur, Tangail, Jhalakathi, Sunamganj, Bogra, Comilla and Narsingdi.
On November 5, an under construction sculpture of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was vandalized in Kushtia. Police have arrested four people in this connection.
Meanwhile, the debate over sculptures gained momentum when Hefazat leaders threatened to throw Bangabandhu's sculpture into the Buriganga.
On December 5, the Muktijuddho Mancha decided to file a sedition case against Mamunul Haque, joint secretary general of Hefazat-e-Islam Bangladesh, and Faizul Karim, nayeb-e-ameer of Islami Andolan Bangladesh, for opposing the installation of the sculpture of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Shamima Rita, Narayanganj; Liakat Ali Badal, Rangpur; Ujjal Chakraborty, Brahmanbaria; Monjur Hossain, Madaripur; Taieyb Ali Sarkar, Nilphamari; Ariful Islam, Kurigram; Anisur Rahman Swapan, Barisal; Emroz Khondoker Bappi, Pabna; Abdul Aziz, Cox’s Bazar; Mehedi Hasan, Chuadanga; Sazzadur Rahman Sazzad, Panchagarh; Manoj Kumar Saha, Gopalganj; Tanjil Hasan, Munshiganj; Faruk Hossain, Dinajpur; Abdullah Al Numan, Tangail; SM Rejaul Karim, Jhalakathi; Himadri Shaker Bhodra, Sunamganj; Nazmul Huda Nasim, Bogra; Masud Alam, Comilla; and Asaduzzaman Ripon, Narsingdi contributed to this report