Bangladesh Islamists threaten to ‘burn alive’ cultural activists

November 9th, 2008 - 3:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, Nov 9 (IANS) Cultural activists at the Rajshahi University campus in western Bangladesh have filed three complaints with police after receiving alleged death threats by radical Islamists for staging a play last Monday. The Islami Chhatra Shibir, the student wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI), country’s largest Islamist party, has threatened to “burn alive” the activists, alleging their play had defamed Prophet Mohammed.

Along with the like-minded Sachegtan Chhatra Samaj, the Shibir has targetted the university unit of a cultural body, Udichi Shilpi Goshthi, and attacked an Udichi activist Hosne Ara Farzana Thursday.

Udichi general secretary Abu Sayem filed two complaints with the police, the New Age newspaper said Sunday.

As per the complaints, the Shibir activists distributed copies of daily newspaper Al-Ihsan in which a report termed those who staged the play as ‘murtad’ (apostates) and Anjuman Al-Baiyanat announced a reward for the people who would kill the murtad.

The cultural activists Saturday met the university’s acting vice-chancellor, Mamnunul Keramat, and the proctor, Enamul Haque, and demanded punishment of the Shibir activists.

Several hundred Shibir activists Saturday held demonstrations on the campus in the presence of police.

At a separate meeting they held on the campus, they again threatened to burn alive “anti-Islam cultural activists in the university”.

In an editorial, New Age Sunday asked why the government was “completely inactive against the fascist forces” of the Shibir who “are not only threatening cultural activists and secular and progressive groups but issuing open declarations to burn alive any citizen who participates in them”.

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