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Old October 30, 2007, 10:45 AM
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Sohel Sohel is offline
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Dear Shaad,

Once again I'm in agreement with you 100% for the reasons I've echoed in post #13 of this thread.

However, after Mujahid and his banker's outrageous comments recently, there is a strong populist upsurge to ban "Islamic" politics altogether. I don't think that is good for the growth of democracy in Bangladesh, especially in light of the fact that they continue to be rejected decisively at the polls, and we have ample laws to punish violent criminals irrespective of particular rationale used during the course of their crimes, "political", "religious' or otherwise. Special "national and public security commissions and tribunals" can speed up the legal process with regards to sedition and especially violent crimes such as war crimes, political terrorism, and torture and violence against women and children at all levels already at our disposal.

Here's a dig you've probably seen already: -

Quote:
Law doesn't allow Jamaat politics
Shakhawat Liton

The existing laws do not allow Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh and other Islamic political parties to run their activities in the name of or on the basis of religion but the parties have been doing these for the last three decades due to non-enforcement of the laws.

The 1972 constitution banned formation and functioning of any association or union or political parties on the basis of religion. The provision for ban was later repealed.

But the Special Powers Act (SPA) 1974, still in force, provides for such ban and punishment for violation of the provision.

All successive governments since the August 1975 changeover used the SPA to suppress opponents but turned a blind eye to the ban on political activities in the name of or based on religion.

Legal experts say the government does not need to enact new laws to ban use of religion for political purposes. It can enforce the SPA provision in this regard, if it wants.

Activities of Jamaat-e-Islami and such other Islamic parties were banned under the constitution of 1972 but they resumed their activities on a large scale following repeal of the constitutional restriction in 1976 during military rule.

"Every citizen shall have the right to form associations or unions, subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the interests of morality or public order: Provide that no person shall have the right to form, or be a member or otherwise take part in the activities of any communal or other association or union which in the name or on the basis of any religion has for its object, or pursues, a political purpose," says Article 38 of the 1972 constitution.

But in 1976, the military government led by Ziaur Rahman repealed the restriction by issuing a martial law proclamation, allowing formation and functioning of organisations based on religion. Since then the relevant article of the constitution says every citizen shall have the right to form associations or unions, subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the interests of morality or public order or public health.

The military regime however did not repeal the SPA provision that imposed restriction on formation or operation of any association on the basis of religion.

"No person shall form, or be a member or otherwise take part in the activities of, any communal or other association or union which in the name or on the basis of any religion has for its object, or pursues, a political purpose," says Sub-section 1 of Section 20 of the SPA.

The SPA also states the procedure of taking actions against such association and union formed on the basis of religion.

Sub-section 2 of Section 20 of the SPA says where the government is satisfied that an association or union has been formed or is operating in contravention of the provisions of Sub-section (1), it may, after hearing the person or persons concerned, declare, by notification in the official gazette, that the association or union has been formed or is operating in contravention of the provisions of Sub-section (1), and upon such declaration, the association or union concerned shall stand dissolved and all its properties and funds shall be forfeited to government.

"Any person who, after the dissolution of an association or union under Sub-section (2), holds himself out as a member or office bearer of that association or union, or acts for, or otherwise takes part in the activities of, that association or union, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both," says Sub-section 3 of Section 20 of the Act.

Since the constitutional ban was repealed in 1976, Islamic political parties and organisations have mushroomed in the country.

No one knows the number of such parties and other organisations as neither the government nor the Election Commission (EC) has any accurate figures on them.

Government intelligence agencies' records however showed existence and activities of about 100 Islamic political parties and organisations since repeal of the ban, and of around 11 in between 1964 and 1971, sources said.

Of the existing parties and organisations apparently based on Islam, some have been identified as militant outfits. And the government banned four of them -- Shahadat-e- Al Hiqma, Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh, Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh and Harkat-Ul Jihad -- during 2003 to 2005. Some organisations were accused of patronising the militant groups.

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Last edited by Sohel; October 30, 2007 at 01:19 PM..
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