In the wake of protests from religious bigots, Gazipur district administration yesterday prevented the 87th annual convention of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat slapping section-144 in and around the venue.
Armed police were deployed at Bahadurpur Scout Training Camp where over 8,000 followers of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat gathered for the three-day annual convention.
Many of them broke down in tears hearing that they had to leave without taking part.
“Our democratic rights have been taken away due to threats from some madrasa people,” said Mir Mobasher Ali, a member of the convention organising committee.
“But we are respectful to the law, so we have accepted the government’s order,” he said.
According to Mizanur Rahman, additional superintendent of police Gazipur, a group of disgruntled locals presented a memorandum to the district administration yesterday demanding that the permit for the convention be revoked.
The SP said Mawlana Mostafa, Mawlana Sharfuddin and Mufti Ataur Rahman were present among others.
The district administration revoked the permit. And when violence was imminent, the authorities decided to impose section-144 in two square kilometres surrounding the venue, he said.
Section-144 does not allow any kind of public gathering.
Thousands of people were stuck inside the venue after the declaration of section-144, Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat leaders said.
Over 3,000 people coming from different parts of the country also had to return, they added.
According to Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat leaders, they rented Bahadurpur Scout Training Camp for three days. The location was picked since it was away from locality so problems with local religious bigots could be averted, they said.
The programme, usually held at their national headquarters in Bakshibazar, was moved to Gazipur to accommodate more people.
For over a decade, followers of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat have been facing abuse and aggression of religious bigots across the country. Many of their houses have been looted from time to time and some have even been killed.