Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaa’t Bangladesh on Saturday blamed the local administration in Panchagarh for failing to protect their community members in the district from hate campaigns and attack.
They said that Tuesday’s attack that saw vandalising and torching of several dozens of Ahmadiyya houses at Ahmadnagar came following days of hate campaigns.
‘Timely measure could prevent it from happening,’ said Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat national ameer Mobasher ur Rahman at a press conference at Bakshibazar in Dhaka in the afternoon.
The attack came ahead of the annual religious gathering that Ahmadiyas in Panchagarh were hosting for their community for almost a century, according to a statement read out by Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaa’t naib national amir Ahmad Tabshir Chowdhury.
This year the three-day-long gathering was scheduled to begin from February 22, it said.
A hate campaign against the gathering was launched days after the organizers on January 31 received permission from the local administration to hold their programme, said the statement.
It said that the organization, Sammilita Khatme Nabuwat Sangrakkhan Parishad, which led the campaign, was never active in the district thought it was known for leading anti-Ahmadiyya campaign elsewhere in the country.
Mufti Nur Hossain Nurani, the leader of Khatme Nabuwat, had met Babunagari, the leader of Hefazat-e-Islami, to discuss plans to prevent the religious gathering in Panchagarh, said the statement.
They announced a counter programme to be held from February 21 to 25 at Ahmadnagar, said the statement.
Rumour was spread out that the Ahmadiyya gathering was planned to counter Biswa Ijtema, it alleged.
Instead of taking action to stop the hate campaign, the district administration pursued negotiation with Khatme Nabuwat, ending up securing their consent that they would not disturb the Ahmadiyya gathering, said the statement.
But the organsiation did not respect its promise and launched the attack in which Awami Olama League and several other organsiations also participated, it said.
‘Local administration failed to protect the constitution that ensured equal right to everyone to practice religion,’ said Maj Gen (Retd) Abdur Rashid, who also attended the press conference expressing his solidarity with Ahmadiya community.
‘They should be held accountable,’ he said.
He said that the government should immediately ban the Khatme Nabuwat, which was involved in similar activities for long.
Ekattarer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee also attended the press conference, condemning the attack on Ahmadiyyas in Panchagarh.
Ekattarer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee president Shahriar Kabir saw international conspiracy in orchestrating the attack to embarrass the government.
He said that there was no scope for the government to take the attack lightly as it has the potential to cause large scale disturbance in the country.
Our Panchagarh correspondent reported that the Ahmadiyas were worried about their safety as none responsible for the attack was yet to be arrested.
Maulana Yahya, a religious teacher at Ahmadiyya masjid in the area, told New Age that the local extremists were threatening their community members saying that police would not be able to save them for long.
No case has been filed over the attack that also left about 20 policemen injured.
Panchagarh additional superintendent of police Sudarshan Kumar Roy, however, claimed that they were investigating the matter.