Minority leaders hail Jamaat’s absence from parliament

Minority leaders hail Jamaat's absence from parliament

During a recent gathering in Dhaka, more than sixty leaders of minority communities from across the nation expressed their satisfaction that Jamaat e Islami was not present in both the recently formed parliament and the parliamentary election held last month.

According to a leader present, the purpose of the meeting was to evaluate the results of the 12th parliamentary elections. Members of the central committee of Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council, the largest minority platform in the nation, attended.

They characterized the outfit’s decision to remain out of parliament as a renewed cause for “igniting hopes and raising optimism” for a future anchored on “communal harmony,” drawing on previous experiences when Jamaat leaders joined the BNP to become lawmakers and used their speeches in parliament to run communal campaigns.

Several leaders who were present at the closed-door meeting—to which the media was not invited—have provided this information.

Jamaat has lost its registration with the Election Commission and is therefore ineligible to participate in any election in Bangladesh. The main ally of the outfit, the BNP, abstained from voting after the government turned down its request to hold the elections under an impartial caretaker government.

The meeting noted that Jamaat and the BNP conducted a simultaneous campaign in the run-up to the polls with the intention of seizing power without polls. This campaign included enforcing blockades and launching hate campaigns against various communities, including Ahmadiyyas.

This information has been provided by a number of leaders who attended the closed-door meeting (to which the media was not invited).

Jamaat is unable to take part in any election in Bangladesh as a result of losing its registration with the Election Commission. The BNP, the outfit’s principal ally, declined to cast a ballot when the government denied its request to conduct the elections under an impartial caretaker government.

The meeting took note of the simultaneous campaign that Jamaat and the BNP ran ahead of the polls with the aim of taking power without the polls. Blockades were enforced as part of this campaign, and hate campaigns were started against Ahmadiyyas and other communities.

Several leaders who were present at the closed-door meeting—to which the media was not invited—have provided this information.

Due to Jamaat’s loss of Election Commission registration, it is not eligible to participate in any elections in Bangladesh. When the government rejected the BNP’s request to hold the elections under an impartial caretaker government, the outfit’s main ally declined to cast a vote.

The BNP and Jamaat conducted a simultaneous campaign ahead of the polls with the intention of winning power without the polls, which was noted in the meeting. As part of this campaign, hate campaigns targeting Ahmadiyyas and other communities were launched and blockades were enforced.

The “extensive use of social media to stoke communal shrills, slurs, and hatred” was another issue that alarmed him. According to him, downloading such propaganda from specific accounts on Facebook and YouTube—among them Zulkernain Saer—featured heavily.

They added that “similar efforts to spread false projections against minorities were set in motion after the polls by the combine to mislead the global community,” alluding to a previous BNP attempt to portray the situation of minorities as appalling through a letter signed by six US congressmen.

D’Rozario refuted the assertion, saying, “Based on my experience, I can say that this statement belies reality.” The letter’s description of the situation differs greatly from the actual one on the ground.

“It is safe to say that Christians have been supported by the current government,” D’Rozario stated. In 2016, D’Rozario became the first person from Bangladesh to be officially inducted into the College of Cardinals, an elite group within the Roman Catholic Church that has the authority to advise and elect popes.

The meeting brought up the topic of poll-induced violence, pointing out that the country had seen the most violence in 2001 following the BNP’s election victory.

Begum Khaleda Zia, the widow of Zia, appointed war criminals as ministers in 2001 after seizing power. Even during that time, the BNP Jamaat as a whole saw one of the largest state-sponsored pogroms against progressive forces and minorities, with minority groups across the nation recording about 28000 incidents of communal attacks.

Nonetheless, it has been reported that BNP and Jamaat members were implicated in the intimidation of female voters in northern villages, the burning down of a monastery, and attacks on Hindu voters.

The accusations have been denied by the BNP and Jamaat as disinformation against them.

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