Police charge baton to disperse protesters against sculpture
Police charge batons to disperse a procession at Shantinagar in Dhaka on Friday that demanded demolition of human sculptures
Police charged baton on mosque-goers and madrasa students near capital’s Shantinagar Friday afternoon to disperse them as they joined a rally after a procession from Baitul Mukarram National Mosque protesting against erecting sculptures, harassment of Hefazat-e-Islam leader Mamunul Haque and dishonouring Prophet Muhammad.
The police also detained 20 protesters from the spot.
Mamunul, a joint-secretary general of Hefazat, has been opposing the plan to erect sculptures of the country’s founding president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, which sparked widespread criticism.
The ruling party leaders and leaders and activists of different progressive organizations condemned the remarks.
In Chattogram, Mamunul Haque did not attend the scheduled mahfil at Hathazari upazila Chattogram Friday afternoon in the face of agitation prgrammes staged by Bangladesh Chhatra League at different points in Chattogram city and Hathazari.
BCL on Thursday vowed to resist his arrival there, New Age correspondent in Chattogram reported.
In Dhaka, witnesses said, as the Jumma prayers ended at Baitul Mukarram National Mosque in the afternoon, several hundred mosque-goers, mostly madrassah students, began to chant slogans.
Over one thousand mosque-goers then brought out a protest rally and police in vain tried to stop it by locking the main gates of the mosque.
The protestors broke the police barricade and stormed out of the mosque onto the street and began to march towards the Shantinagar area after crossing Paltan intersection.
The agitated mosque-goers and madrasa students were chanting slogans against erecting sculptures and harassing Mamunul.
As the procession ended at Shantinagar, a madrassah student stood up on the stairs of a building on the road and declared, ‘We will continue to show our affection to Maulana Mamunul Haque, the kind of affection we have shown today.’
He further said that they would follow any instruction from Hefazat amir Junayed Babunagari and general secretary Nur Hossain Kasemi.
Police, at this point, began to blow whistles and began charging batons on the protestors and finally dispersed the rally in a couple of minutes.
A group of agitators reorganised at an adjacent alley and began to throw brickbats at the police and fled within minutes in the face of police resistance.
Paltan police officer-in-charge Abu Bakar Siddique said that they detained 15 madrassah students, including some under-aged ones from the spot.
Ramna police also detained five more students and mosque-goers. They will be released later, said the police station officials.
Ramna police station inspector (investigation) Johirul Islam said they made unprovoked attack on police.