By Sumi Khan
Dhaka, Dec 5 (IANS): A procession of radical Islamists and "anti-Liberation War" activists, protesting against a proposed statue of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rehman, in Dhaka on Friday was dispersed by a baton charge, police said.
Police said that a group of fanatics brought out a procession from the north gate of Baitul Mukarram National Mosque after Friday prayers, without the police's permission.
Thowing stones on police, the protesters tried to proceed toward the Paltan crossing after breaking barricades, leading to the police undertake the baton charge.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Motijheel Zone, Enamul Haque Mithu said that the protest had been banned.
"We were already on alert about this. Suddenly a group was going from Baitul Mukarram to Shahbag. We put up a barricade. They broke it. As the anti-sculpture procession was illegal, we dispersed them," he said.
The police official said at least 500 law enforcement personnel were deployed in the area around Baitul Mukarram, the central mosque of Dhaka.
Incidentally, the anti-sculpture stance of the anti-liberation organisations in Bangladesh has recently intensified in protest of the decision to erect a sculpture of Father of the Nation, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, at the Dholaipar intersection of the capital and they had demanded it be stopped.
Radical Islamist groups, who have at various times opposed the statue as "un-Islamic", also threatened to demolish the sculpture if it came up.
The leaders of the fundamentalists, backed by Jamaat-e-Islam and Hefazat-e-Islam have threatened to throw away the sculpture of the Bangabandhu into the Buriganga River.
Tey have declared that statues are against the Sharia and they will pull down all the statues of the country.
Supporters of the fundamental and anti-liberation Islamists Hefazat-e-Islam first condemned and against setting up a statue of British-era Bengali culture icon, philosopher and social reformer, Lalon Fakir, at the airport intersection in 2008 with the banner of "Murti Protirodh Committee".
During that caretaker regime, they forced the government on the defence and forced it to place an Arabic word sculpture there.