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PM response to HeI demands

Prime Minister (PM) Sheikh Hasina on May 3, 2013, clarified the government's position on the 13-point demand of the Hefazat-e-Islam (HeI). The reply to all the 13 demands is given below:

Responding to the first demand, the PM noted the constitution begins with Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim [In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful]. "This is a verse of the Holy Quran. No other sentence could be more appropriate," she said, adding it demonstrates faith in Allah. The PM also mentioned that Islam is now the state religion.

Responding to the second demand, the PM said the Information and Communication Technology Act, 2009 and Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) contained the provision of punishment for the offence.

Responding to the third demand, the PM said the Government had already arrested four bloggers for making "derogatory comments" against Prophet Muhammad and they would be prosecuted if found guilty.

Responding to the fourth demand, the PM firmly said no such oppressive action has been taken.

Responding to the fifth demand, Hasina said individuals, including Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI)-Islami Chhatra Shibir (ICS) elements, engaged in anti-state activities, had been arrested. "If you have any knowledge of the arrest of any innocent person, give us the list. The Government will release them with the highest priority."

Responding to the sixth demand, the PM said everyone had the right to practice religion and the Government never obstructed anyone from offering prayers.

Responding to the seventh demand, Hasina said under the existing 2006 Right to Information Act, someone convicted of hurting "religious sentiments" could potentially face a prison term of up to 10 years and pay a fine.

Responding to the eight demand, Hasina said measures would be taken in this regard as per law.

Responding to the ninth demand, the PM said the sculptures were created in accordance with the country's heritage and culture. She asked the HeI not to confuse sculpture with idolatry.

Responding to the tenth demand, Hasina said the Government had made Islamic education mandatory from the primary to the higher secondary levels and it would not implement any part of women policy that conflicts with Islam.

Responding to the eleventh demand, the PM said the Government would take steps if there was any specific allegation.

Responding to the twelfth demand, Hasina said a monitoring committee would be formed under the information ministry to look into the matter. If necessary, she added, Islamic scholars would be included in the committee.

Responding to the last demand, Hasina said forced conversion of religion was a crime and the law enforcers were keeping watch on NGOs.


Source: Daily Star





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