The Jamaat-e-Islami says it plans to hold demonstrations across the country on Saturday to protect minorities.
The demonstrations are planned to be held in all major cities including Dhaka and Chittagong and at Upazila level, a statement by Jamaat-e-Islami’s acting secretary general Rafiqul Islam Khan said.
“We want total protection for the Hindus, Buddhists and Christians and their places of worship. We also demand the government to provide adequate compensation to all those from these communities who have been affected in any kind of violence,” the statement read.
Khan said in the statement that it was expected of any government in power to ensure full protection to the minorities.
“But, the Awami League only uses the minorities as a vote-bank rather than providing them with protection,” the statement alleged.
The Jamaat-e-Islami has been accused of promoting a radical Islamist agenda and its leaders and activists have been blamed for large scale atrocities against the minorities during the 1971 Liberation War.
Many of their senior leaders who have received life or death sentences from the war crimes tribunals have been linked to massacres and forced conversions of the minorities during the 1971 war.
When the Jamaat-BNP coalition came to power in 2001, the minorities again blamed Jamaat activists for unleashing a ‘reign of terror’ against them. The Hindus even refused to celebrate the Durga Puja in protest against the ‘terror’ that year.
The media has also pointed to Jamaat-Shibir involvement in recent attacks on Buddhists and Hindus in Ramu, Satkhira and Santhia in Pabna–a charge Khan denied.
“We are not involved in any of these attacks. It is the Awami League which is behind this kind of disinformation because they like fishing in troubled waters,” Khan said.
He insisted the Jamaat and its student affiliate Islami Chhatra Shibir has always ‘stood up for protecting minorities when they were attacked’.
He denied Jamaat-Shibir involvement in any of the recent attacks over the last one year on Hindu and Buddhist temples across the country during the violence unleashed after the war crimes verdicts against senior Jamaat leaders.
“We severely condemn these attacks on the minorities and their places of worship,” the statement said.