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Monday, June 13, 2016, Jaistha 30, 1423 BS, Ramadan 7, 1437 Hijri

State religion : Plea to level charges against petitioners rejected
Published :Monday, 13 June, 2016,  Time : 12:00 AM  View Count : 35

A Dhaka court has scrapped an appeal for levelling charges of 'hurting religious sensitivities' against those who have filed a petition in the High Court, challenging the constitutional clause making Islam the State religion of Bangladesh.
The complaint with a magistrate court was filed by one Mufti Masum Billah, 47, who hails from South Dania in Dhaka's Kadamtali, according to documents.
Metropolitan Magistrate Abdullah Al Masud turned down the plea after hearing the matter on Sunday.
The complainant sought to bring charges against Prof Serajul Islam Choudhury, Prof Anisuzzaman, retired Maj Gen CR Dutta, columnist Badaruddin Umar, Prof Borhan Uddin Khan Jahangir and their lawyer Subrata Chowdhury.
Military dictator HM Ershad pushed the Constitution's Eighth Amendment through Parliament, which passed the bill on Jun 5, 1988.
It paved the way for Article 2A to be inserted into the Constitution, making Islam the State religion.
A petition was filed the same year challenging the legality of the amendment made to the Constitution of Bangladesh, which was born in 1971 on the ideals of nationalism, socialism, democracy and secularism.
The petitioners were: former chief justice Kamal Uddin Hossain, Poet Sufia Kamal, National Professor Kabir Chowdhury, Prof Khan Sarwar Murshid, Prof Mosharraf Hossain, retired Maj Gen CR Dutta, Prof Serajul Islam Choudhury, writer Badaruddin Umar, journalist and writer Faiz Ahmed, Borhan Uddin Khan Jahangir and Prof Anisuzzaman.
Ten of them had died. The complaint filed on Sunday sought to level charges against the five still alive and the lawyer who stood for the petitioners at the High Court.
In March this year, the High Court scrapped the 28-year-old petition, citing that the petitioners had no locus standi (standing) to file a petition on the matter.
Qawmi madrasa-based group Hifazat-e Islam had threatened to bring Bangladesh to its knees if the High Court repealed Islam as the state religion.
The Jamaat-e-Islami called a nationwide shutdown on the day the High Court was scheduled to give its decision.                          

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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