Thousands protest in Bangladesh against Islamic Constitution

Saleem Samad

Saleem Samad


Caption: Thousands demonstrates against adoption by parliament an Islamic constitution in Bangladesh capital on Thursday.

Thousands of protesters marched in capital Dhaka on Thursday against Bangladesh parliament adopted an Islamic constitution, steering away from a secular political culture, which was enshrined in 1972 constitution.

A half a mile long rally organized by a conglomerate of left parties and pro-secular groups, chanting anti-government slogans and waving red flags marched towards the parliament, where the ruling party and her alliance lawmakers hastily adopted several amendments to the constitution on Thursday noon.

Hundreds of riot police in flak jackets, armed with shot guns and tear gas shells blocked the marchers putting up barbed-wire fences. The protesters in summer heat and intermittent rain stopped at exit of the Dhaka University, where leaders in makeshift dais addressed the crowd and bitterly criticized the government for switching to an Islamic constitution.

In a massive constitutional reform, the non-partisan interim government has been deleted, which was practiced for 15 years to hold credible elections and ensure smooth transition to an incumbent political government. The opposition fears that the ruling party will rig the election, despite denial by the prime minister.

A set of 55 amendment proposals were incorporated in the constitution amendment bill by 289-1 division vote.

Main opposition described the abrogation of neutral caretaker government from the democratic constitution will be written in the history as a “black day”. Opposition leader and former prime minister Khaleda Zia threatened series of street protests and political agitations to undo the constitution reforms.

Prime minister Shiekh Hasina warned the opposition not to create anarchy and instead olive branches to hold parleys with the government and suggest how to hold a credible election scheduled in 2014 and also reduce military interference in state polity.

The prime minister was highly critical of the last military-backed caretaker government (2006-8), which sent the present prime minister and opposition leader to prison for corruption.

The independence war veterans, secularist and left leaning parties have came down heavily on the government for converting a secular political culture to an Islamic one.

Several lawmakers mostly from the left leaning parties have voted against the proposed amendment of the constitution, which has included Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Rahim (in the name of Allah, most gracious, most merciful), a verse from Koran in the preamble and Islam as state religion.

The ethnic minority leader Mangal Kumar Chakma in a statement protested the new constitution, which has termed the indigenous peoples as “tribals, small nationalities, ethnic groups and communities.”

What angered the indigenous peoples when the discovered that they have been bracketed as “Bangalee”, who are majoritarian Sunni Muslims. The indigenous communities divided in several sub-groups have different languages and are mostly Buddhist, Hindu and animist.

Bangladesh gained independence from Islamic Pakistan after a bloody war on the principle to establish a secular and democratic nation.

Former Justice Golam Rabbany lamented at a seminar on Thursday that from now the nation has lost its secular identity, which was gained after decades of struggle. The sacrifices of thousands of martyrs during the independence war, forty years ago have been insulted, he decried.


8 Responses to “Thousands protest in Bangladesh against Islamic Constitution”

  1. INDEPENDENT MUSLIM THINKER

    Shame upon these idiots who dishonour Islamic Jurisprudenc & make uproar
    against Islamic Sharia laws. These stupid have no fear of ALLAH,no fear of their graves.What is Secular? Evil nude dances ,wearing unislamic dress & dancing nude? Islam propagates peace & enhance beauty of the universe.
    If you want to live in peace, follow true Islamic path . Islam propagates love for all & hate for none. If all rich people of this earth had followed
    Islamic Economic Jurisprudence & honesty ,give away due share for poor mass.
    a lot of hunger could have been prevented. Let us proclam there is no creator but ALLAH SWT & Mohammed(MSAS) is the peace loving messanger of this globe. Thank you.

  2. Steve

    @”INDEPENDENT MUSLIM THINKER” … I really do hope you are ‘independent’ in your thoughts. Islam *enforced* peace? And who the hell is doing all this nude dancing? You talk like every non-Islamic person dances around nude.

  3. t.k.

    INDEPENDENT MUSLIM THINKER:
    You are insane. Read a book that is not the Quran for once in your life. Why are the most successful countries in this world secular? Why are the least successful and most violent nations based on Sharia Law? Because Sharia Laws are barbaric and will cause our country to fail.

  4. SB

    “peace loving messanger”

    If Muhammed was a peace loving messenger, then Hitler was a girl scout. How long will Muslims lie to themselves and others ?

  5. Mr.Maggoo

    If any religion is as beneficial as its followers maintain then it will never need the state and a constitution to enforce it.
    maggoo

  6. Deshpremik

    Is Awami League officially a Islamic Party now ? Do you see champion secularist Kabir Chowdhury in the protesting crowd?

  7. John

    Majority of Bangladeshis dont want Islamic constitution according to the article then why should the government sdopt it. The people separated from Pakistan due to the fact that the rulers of united country comitted untold atrocities int he name if islam of the people of east Pakistan who were robed economically and starved of their language and talent that generated after independence and Bangladesh became one of the fastest emerging nation, far, far better than pakistan today.

  8. Amir

    I know, Islam is the complete code of life. Islam is natural religion. Allah created us so, we should obey Allah. I feel Islamic rules is perfect rules for the world.Fear punishment of Hell after death.Thay are over talent. Over talent is harmful for our humanity.

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