It's deeply disheartening that police and activists of Anti-Quran Law Resistance Committee, on the very premise of a sacred place like Baitul Mukarram National Mosque, engaged in clashes and turned the premise into a battlefield.
Most people of Bangladesh are religious-minded and we believe that Islam is a complete code of life. So whenever it comes to formulating some policy like National Women Development Policy (NWDP) that may be misinterpreted by opportunists as anti-Islamic, the policy-makers must exercise extreme caution and be proactive deeming it a very delicate issue, with a view to dispelling false fear and grievances of pious people as well as preempting violent agitation among the activists of Islamic parties. But unfortunately, CTG has miserably failed to show its foresight regarding this.
History says that Islam is the first religion that had given due rights to women but its various doctrines have been misinterpreted by some evil people and thereby misunderstood by common people. There are Islamic scholars in Bangladesh who are very well knowledgeable about the rights of women in Islam. Before thrashing out different delicate issues of NWDP, they should have been consulted and their views along with necessary references to Quran and Hadith should have been propagated effectively.
A little learning is a dangerous thing. Mere assurance on the part of government that the policy isn't anti-Islamic can't be enough, rather why and how the policy doesn't go against Islam should be publicised. Therefore, sufficient information must be disseminated to the common people in order to get them enlightened and preclude this kind of unrest.
[ An abridged version of this post was published as a letter entitled "Shocking indeed" in The Daily Star on April 16, 2008. ]