Press Briefing by Hefazat-e-Islam, Maulana Ashraf Ali on behalf of Amir saheb
*Demand to release all leaders and workers including the Secretary General
*Government perpetrated the Genocide in a pre-planned way despite assurance from Hefazat to vacate Motijheel by next morning
*Ruling Party Hooligans with the support of the law enforcing agencies committed violance and burnt shops and businesses and burnt the Holy Quran and religious books in a pre-planned way and propagated lies to malign the image of Hefazat
Hathazari 7th May, 2013.
Hefazat-E-Islam has called for country-wide dawn-to-dusk hartal on 12 May protesting the genocide carried out on the Muslim scholars and the masses supporting them at Motijheel Shapla Chattar (Circle) by the government forces.
The Press Conference was called in the central office of Hefazat-e-Islam at Hathazari, Chittagong, Bangladesh.
In the jam-packed press conference, Maulana Ashraf Ali Nizampuri, the Central Literary Secretary, briefed the journalists on behalf of the Amir of Hefazat-E-Islam.
In the press briefing, he spoke about the genocide perpetrated by the government on the Alims (Muslim Scholars) and the mass people supporting them during the night on Sunday.
He complained that despite the commitment given, time and again, to the government that they would leave the Motijheel Shapla Chattar the next morning, the government carried out the genocide during night in a pre-planned way.
In the written statement, Maulana Ashraf Ali said:
“We are speaking before you at such a time when the Alim Community and the masses of this country supporting them have become subjected to the cruelest killing of the history. It’s not known to us whether any other such cruelest pre-planned mass killing has ever been perpetrated in Bangladesh. Corpses of naïve Alims and religious-minded people are still lying in hospital morgues and in unknown places, with the roads stained with their bloods. Hundreds of thousands of innocent religious people out from their houses in the love of Allah SWT and His prophet (SAW) are yet to be back to their home. We are not in a position to know, where they are now, how they are, and whether they are still alive or not. The country is passing through an inexplicably fearful situation. This hellishness has defeated even the wartime situations.
The so-called Muslim government of a country majority of which are Muslims, have conducted, in the darkness of night on May 6, cruel, barbarous and inhuman killing in the Shapla Chattar arena of Motijheel in the capital, with the help of police, RAB, BGB and their party cadres, on those innocent, unarmed hundreds of thousands of civilians when they were either asleep or were in Zikr (Remember Allah SWT). The corpses have immediately been taken away lest the world should not know how many people had actually been killed in that operation. Eye witnesses say, corpses have been removed and transported to unknown destination by municipal garbage trucks, transport tucks, covered vans, pickup all loaded with corpses. Many apprehend, the number of corpses can rise from 2500 to 3000. Materials of proof have been removed quickly from the place of genocide. Thousands and thousands of people have been wounded. The honorable Islamic scholars and their supporting masses have been humiliated and tortured, have been forced to leave Dhaka. We were not allowed to speak to the press in the capital. Allama Babunagari, the Secretary General of Hefazat-E-Islam, is being tortured after arrest. False cases are being lodged in a bid to arrest hundreds of Alims.
Since noon on May 5, police and the hooligans of the ruling party operating in Gulistan, Paltan, Baitul Mukarram, Bijoynagar, Dainik Bangla Circle area of Dhaka attacked Shapla-Chattar-bound processions and killed and wounded numerous people without any provocation. Viewers at home and abroad observed that live through television. They created deadly anarchy through vandalism and arson and tried, in vain, to father those on Hefazat-E-Islam.
We want to iterate in clear terms that anyone having Iman (Faith) who has Faith in Life Hereafter, who fears about accountability to Allah SWT, who have sensibility and human feelings, who have sense of responsibility to the people of the country and has respect for democracy can in no way perpetrate such cruel killings of the Islamic Clergies and their supporting masses.
It was an incident of horrible mass killing, shooting at people like game birds by the forces of Muslim ruler during peaceful sit-in program of a non-political party, fighting for religious rights, in a country where 90 percent of the population are Muslims. It will not only remain as a calumnious episode in the annals of history, this will also be written in red letter as world record for genocide without any provocation. The Mohazot Alliance Government led by Awami League, pre-planned very coolly for hours, and then came down on the streets, switched off the road lights, and conducted this heinous killings with heavy weapons. We have lost all our languages to condemn this cruel, heartless and inhuman episode. We leave it to the conscience of the countrymen, and, on top of everything, to Allah Rabbul Alamin for justice.
We submitted our 13-point demand to the government and gave them enough time to decide. But the government gave us even no indication that they want to discuss with us about the 13-point demand which is mainly related to our Religious Rights and Faith. Rather many of them, terming 13 points as against the Constitution, had stigmatized that its implementation would tantamount to going back to the middle age. We explained our 13 points in writing and explained its legal implications and duly sent to the highest authority of the government. At the end, the Prime Minister explained our demand point-wise, and rejected all the demands tactfully. Therefore, as per earlier declaration we went for our peaceful programs and warned government before we go tough for getting our demands fulfilled. The government turned deaf to our demands.
When the program was running, the hooligans of the ruling party started vandalism and arson, sometime in their own face and sometime in the disguise of Hefazat supporters. The ruling party hooligans protected by police attacked Hefazat supporters and ordinary Muslims who appeared to be Hefazat supporter. Nobody dared to move forward to rescue victims. As a natural consequence, the hundreds of thousands of common people taking part in the Hefazat congregation got angry.
The top leader of Hefazat-E-Islam (Hazrat Allama Ahmad Shafi) was obstructed by police from attending and closing the congregation before sunset at Motijheel Shapla Chattar with his speech and prayers. Consequently we decided to continue our peaceful sit-in program and told the authorities that we would vacate the Motijheel Shapla Chattar is the morning with the speech and prayers by the Amir (Leader i.e. Hazrat Allama Ahmad Shafi). We urged the government for stop attacks and killing by police and ruling party hooligans. But the law-enforcing agencies and government forces started reign of terror with further vigour even after sunset. Even in this turmoil we decided that we would in the morning end the program through prayer to Almighty Allah. We informed the administration about this intention again and again.
Now it’s clear, the event born out of these unprecedented aggressive actions without heeding none of our requests and words, is well pre-planned and instigatory. It’s transparent to us, permission given to us for holding congregation at Shapla Chattar, anarchy created through attacks at the other end, ultimatum given for vacating the place through holding press briefing twice, and conducting mass killing on our congregation during night is nothing but part of the heinous conspiracy made in advance by the government.
The Islamic clergy community of this country is religious and peace-loving. They are committed to getting the demands as warranted by their Religious Faith and Rights fulfilled peacefully. The 13-point demand of the Hefazat-E-Islam is the demand of millions and millions of people who believe in Islam. It’s loud and clear, demonstrated through spontaneous participation by hundreds of thousands of people in the Long-March on April 6, and Dhaka Blockade Program on May 5, that the Islamic clergy community will not rest at home until these demands met.
The government has threatened us that they would not allow us to move out of homes. Such threat of denying people’s right to movement is unprecedented in a democratic civil society.
The government has put two popular television channels off air who were telecasting live and objective news about Hefazat-e-Islam program. The other media are publishing and telecasting lies, concoctions and malignant propaganda to incite hatred against us.
We want to make it known in clear terms, we do not know the consequences that will take place for the government if they do not correct their position and attitude. No government has ever been able to remain in power by force subduing aspiration of the majority of the population; this government will not too.
For the Islamic clergy community of this country it is not any matter of politics and political affiliation with any particular party. Our current movement is neither for putting somebody to power, nor for bringing down someone from power.
We want to give to the government the last chance and to say that you have martyred thousands of our people, wounded thousands and thousands of people. You yourself have perpetrated the unprovoked mass killing our people, and yet lodging cases against us. Leave this wrong path; beg pardon of the Islamic Clergy community, release the real statistics of those killed and wounded, arrange for proper burial of those killed, and arrange treatment of those wounded, and withdraw the cases.
A huge number of Hefazat leaders and workers have been arrested including the Secretary General of Hefazat-e-Islam, Allama Junaid Babunagari. We demand the government to immediately release all the leaders and workers of Hefazat-E-Islam including its Secretary General, drop all false cases and stop all the malignant propaganda against Hefazat. Ruling party hooligans under police protection looted and put on fire hundreds of shops of the poor people, business houses and banks alongside roads and yet are telling lies to father the allegations on Hefazat. The truth has been exposed with picture in various media. We deeply deplore this malignant propaganda to incite hatred against Hefazat.
We call to the Government, please bring to book those who are actual culprits for these killings – let there be a proper unbiased judicial enquiry. Accept our 13-point demand as early as possible; otherwise, the strong agitation brewing up in people with faith in heart cannot be subdued for long. This will flare up, devastatingly, in the whole of the country, Insha-Allah.”