Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Shibir using religion to woo kids in Rajshahi

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Islami Chhatra Shibir, student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh, is wooing children allegedly using religious edicts and arousing 'fear of hell' in them.

Police and guardians said several groups of Shibir activists are now active at places under Boalia, Rajpara, Motihar and Shah Makhdum thana areas in the city who are 'recruiting' children, mostly seven to 12-year-old ones.

Shibir men approach children at school gates and playgrounds and ask them questions on religion, and eventually compel them to enrol as 'supporters', said RMP Assistant Commissioner (Detective Branch) Mahfuzur Rahman.

Following allegations from guardians of several children who were made 'Shibir supporters,' Rajshahi Metropolitan Police (RMP) have employed plain-clothes policemen to watch activities of Shibir men.

"A group of eight Shibir men called some kids including my ward when they were playing on a field near my house. They asked the children whether they fear Allah and whether they want to respond to His call. Explaining path to heaven and hell they also asked them whether they want to learn the Qur'an," a guardian in Bilshimla area told newsmen.

"As the children answered in the affirmative, the Shibir men told them that they must become Shibir supporters if they want to get blessings of Allah," said the guardian, adding that the Shibir men gave the children copies of a form as their identity as 'Shibir supporters'.

Police received similar complaints from guardians in Bahrampur, Dasmari, Dingadoba, Zinnahnagar, Khojapur, Meherchandi, Budhpara and Binodpur areas.

A general diary has been recorded following complaints from guardians, said Rajpara Police Station Officer-in-Charge (OC) Anisur Rahman.

Refuting allegations of forcing anyone, Rajshahi city Shibir President Nur Mohammad Mondol said, "We have already asked our workers to stop enrolling those who do not want to be with us."

However, several Jamaat leaders in Rajshahi said Shibir has began a 10-day programme styled 'Dawati Dasak' from March 21 for enrolling children through 'dawat' (invitation).

RMP Commissioner Mahbub Mohsin said OCs of all police stations, the Special Branch and detective branches have been alerted to look into the matter.


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