During the mass reception accorded to the prime minister by Al-Haiyatul Uliya Lil Jamiyatil Qawmia Bangladesh, at the Suhrawardy Udyan in Dhaka on Sunday, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s military secretary, Maj Gen Mia Mohammad Zainul Abedin, had said no one had been killed when security forces dispersed the massive protest rally of Hefazat in Shapla Chattar the night of May 5, 2013.
Allama Junaid Babunagari, the secretary general of Qawmi-madrasa based movement Hefazat-e-Islam Bangladesh, has issued a strongly worded statement denouncing a government official’s statement that no one was killed by the law enforcement agencies during Hefazat’s mass protest at Shapla Chattar in Motijheel, Dhaka on May 5, 2013.
Written on a document with Hefazat’s name as the header, the statement was sent to the Dhaka Tribune by Hefazat’s Central Organizing Secretary Mawlana Azizul Haque Islamabadi on Monday.
In the statement, Babunagari said through different media reports, he came to learn that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s military secretary, Maj Gen Mia Mohammad Zainul Abedin, had said no one had been killed when security forces dispersed the massive protest rally of Hefazat in Shapla Chattar the night of May 5, 2013, and whoever said this was spreading false information.
Maj Gen Zainul made the statement during the mass reception accorded to the prime minister by Al-Haiyatul Uliya Lil Jamiyatil Qawmia Bangladesh, the highest board of Qawmi education, at the Suhrawardy Udyan in Dhaka on Sunday, the statement said.
“His [the PM’s military secretary’s] statement is false, shameless and audacious,” Babunagari said. “On behalf of Hefazat, I strongly protest this statement and demand that they admit their mistake and apologize.”
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He said on May 5, 2013, thousands of Hefazat followers gathered in Shapla Chattar to demand strict punishment for those who insulted Islam and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) at that time.
“On the night of May 5 and early hours of May 6, through the coverage of both local and international media, the nation witnessed how the security forces cracked down on the peaceful protesters to disperse them from the area, during which thousands of protesters died,” Babunagari said in the statement. “I, myself, was tortured that night, and was arrested along with many other the next day.”
He further said: “Five years later, completely denying the massacre that took place is not only inhumane, but also disrespectful towards those who were martyred that day. When the government should have asked for forgiveness, a high government official making such a comment is undoubtedly arrogant.”
Back then, the law enforcement officials issued a statement saying there had been no casualties during their drive to clear out the Motijheel area of Hefazat supporters on May 5 and 6, 2013.
However, several credible media sources then reported that there had been as many as 18 deaths during the drive.