Hefazat-e-Islam organisers on Saturday warned that they would go for series of demonstrations if the government tries to interrupt the Sunday hartal (general strike) being observed in protest of attacks on anti-Modi campaigners.
While addressing a protest programme in front of Baitul Mokarram Mosque in Dhaka, they also said that the government would be held responsible in case of any unwarranted situation.
Several hundred supporters of the Islamist group staged demonstrations in Dhaka, Chattogram, Brahmanbaria and other places after the Jummah prayers, protesting the Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s Bangladesh visit.
Their demonstrations turned violent as supporters of Hefazat, mostly madrassa students and other religious elements, locked in clashes with law enforcement personnel and ruling party student-youth activists.
The clashes left four agitators dead at Hathazari, Chattogram–the epicentre of Hefazat, one in Brahmanbaria, and more than a hundred injured.
In a press conference at the capital’s Purana Paltan on Friday night, Hefazat-e-Islam’s Nayeb-Ameer Abdur Rab Yousufi called a countrywide demonstration on Saturday and a dawn to dusk hartal on Sunday protesting the killings and attacks.
Following the announcement, several hundred supporters of the group gathered at the north entrance of Baitul Mukarram Mosque to stage a demonstration on Saturday noon.
Denouncing the killings and attacks, Hefazat’s joint secretary general Fazlul Karim Kasemi threatened that they would launch a movement to oust the government if the Sunday general strike is obstructed.
Hefazat’s Dhaka city unit general secretary Mamunul Haque alleged that ruling party cadres wearing helmets intruded into mosques and threatened the worshipers.
“Police accompanied the ruling party cadres. If we take to the streets, the ruling party men will not be able to escape,” he said.
Junaid Al Habib, Hefazat’s Dhaka city unit president said the presence of protesters would enforce an all-out strike on Sunday.
The Saturday rally was chaired by Hefazat’s secretary general Nurul Islam.
Prior to the demonstration, police were deployed in large numbers in tge allies and streets across Paltan, Gulistan and Baitul Mukarram mosque areas. The security in the areas had been beefed up.