The government on Wednesday slapped eight cases against top officials of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI), the country’s largest Islamist party, who were arrested on Tuesday on charges of hurting Muslim religious sentiments.
JeI's Ameer (chief) Maulana Motiur Rahman Nizami, its Secretary General Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed and Nayebe Ameer (vice-president) Delwar Hossain Saydee were arrested after a Dhaka court ordered it. The arrests triggered protests by the JeI workers across the country.
The three were present at a meeting on March 17 when Dhaka city JeI Ameer Rafiqul Islam Khan compared Nizami's perceived persecution by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's government with sufferings of Prophet Muhammad.
This had hurt the religious sentiments of Muslims, as per a complaint lodged with the police by Syed Rejaul Haque Chandpuri, secretary general of the Bangladesh Tarikat Federation.
Nizami and Mojaheed, both ministers in the government of Begum Khaleda Zia (2001-06) are also on the list of "war criminals" — those who targeted unarmed civilians in the run-up to the 1971 freedom movement.