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Dhaka Tribune

Latif Siddique’s bail irks radical Islamists

Update : 30 Jun 2015, 07:33 PM

Since Abdul Latif Siddique’s release on bail on Monday a number of extremist Islamist political parties and groups have been expressing anger, saying the sacked minister would have to die for defaming Islam.

The fanatics held processions and rallies, and issued press statements against the court order and demanded that Latif be arrested again and given exemplary punishment for hurting their religious sentiment.

They also criticised the government for giving shelter to the former Awami League Presidium member by granting his bail prayers.

Islami Oikyo Jote, an ally of the BNP-Jamaat-led 20-party combine, has announced protest processions from all mosques across the country on Friday.

Latif had reportedly criticised hajj and also ijtema during a discussion in New York on September 27 last year. A number of cases were filed against him at different places in Bangladesh, he was removed from the cabinet and the party cancelled his primary membership.

He got bail in 17 cases filed against him before being released from the prison cell of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University.

Qawmi madrasa-based Islamist platform Hefazat-e-Islam’s leader Maulana Junayed Al Habib said Latif Siddique would not be allowed to move freely in Bangladesh.

“He will be killed wherever he is found. No atheist has been spared since the independence of Bangladesh,” Habib, members secretary of Hefazat’s city unit, said at an iftar party at Jamia Madania Madrasa.

Members of Islami Oikyo Jote, also a part of Hefazat platform, brought out a procession in Lalbagh. Its Secretary General Mufti Faizullah said: “The atrocious atheists and murtads are being patronised by granting Latif Siddique bail. They will not be allowed to live in this country.”

Islami Andolon Bangladesh in a statement, signed by its Secretary General Yunus Samad, echoed the views of Faizullah.

Demanding Latif’s arrest, Khelafat Majlish in a statement yesterday termed the government hypocrite. “Infamous Taslima Nasreen, Daud Haider… no one could stay in the country after defaming Islam. The country’s pious Muslims will never allow any atheist or murtad on the soil of Bangladesh.”

Its leaders alleged that Latif’s bail proved that the government arrested him to save him from outrage of the people.

Khelafat-e-Islami Ameer Maulana Abul Hasnat Amini said the atheists would be diminished in thin air following the all-out movement of the true Muslims during this Ramadan.

“This government has no authority to stay in power. It is the arch enemies of Islam and Muslims,” he said at an iftar event on Monday.

Jyotirmoy Barua, lawyer for Latif Siddique, said his client has every right to get protection from the government.

“Atheism is not illegal in our country and we do not have Shariah Law to demand death sentence of atheists. The government should take stern action against all irrespective of their political or other identities in such cases,” he told the Dhaka Tribune. 

When contacted, Muntasriul Islam, DMP DC (media), evaded a direct answer. He, however, said police usually take steps as per the law when any citizen, especially the noted personalities, is threatened with death. 

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