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Bangladesh PM promises action against Jamaat for mayhem during PM Modi visit

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Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has blamed radical outfits Jamaat-e-Islami and Hefazat-e-Islam for orchestrating the violence and arson during protests against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the country last month. Hasina told parliamentarians on Sunday that strict action would be taken against the Islamists. Livid over the attacks coinciding with Modi’s visit, Hasina told lawmakers, “I can say that legal action will be taken again those responsible for such misdeeds.”

The Jamaat and opposition BNP had backed the Hefazat in giving a hartal (shutdown) call coinciding with Modi’s visit to create vandalism in the name of Islam, she said. Bangladesh Members of Parliament have earlier alleged that the Pakistan High Commission in Dhaka and its spy agency ISI had backed the radicals in orchestrating protests ahead of Modi’s visit on March 26-27 as the chief guest marking the occasion of 50 years of Bangladesh’s independence.

The Hasina government has banned Jamaat-e-Islami for its role in the 1971 war and for orchestrating terror attacks and promoting terror, allegedly at Pakistan’s behest. Top Jamaat leaders have also been executed for war crimes and for their role in perpetuating genocide between April and December 1971. ET had earlier reported that Jamaat cadres had infiltrated the Hefazat in creating mayhem. Jamaat-e-Islami’s links with Pakistan and ISI remain intact, highly placed sources told ET from Dhaka.

Issuing a warning against Hefazat-e-Islam, Hasina, who is also Leader of the House, said that they had set fire to houses and offices of Chhatra League and Awami League leaders and activists. “They are playing with fire. But if a house catches fire, it may spread to another house nearby. Don’t they understand this?”

Hasina said BNP and Jamaat gave separate messages supporting Hefazat on March 27 and 28, which is part of a conspiracy against the state. “Many foreign guests had come to our country on the occasion of the golden jubilee of independence. Many foreign dignitaries including the Queen of Britain had sent messages on this occasion, which brought honour for the country,” Hasina said. “But who were not happy?” Modi was supposed to arrive on March 26, she said. “But it was said that he wouldn’t be allowed to come to Bangladesh. Why?”

“Hefazat-e-Islam announced programmes (in protest against Modi’s visit to Bangladesh). But don’t they go to Deoband (in India) to receive an education? If they continue doing this, how will they get higher education in Deoband? Did they consider that?” she asked.

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