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Bangladesh Islamists threaten ‘long march to Ayodhya to save Babri Masjid’

Certain small militant Islamic organisations in Bangladesh are threatening a "long march to Ayodhya to save the Babri Masjid" in protest against the Supreme Court verdict, causing concern in India.

The Hefazat-e-Islam's demonstration against the Ayodhya judgement at the Baitul Mukarram Mosque in Central Dhaka after Friday prayers last month led by Nur Hossain Kashmeri was well-attended by about 3,000 people, highly-placed government sources said. Among those present were Islami Oikyo Jote chairman Abdul Latif Nizami. This has been the largest such protest in years, and there were similar, even if smaller protests in Chittagong, Sylhet and Brahmenberia.

During a meeting in Chittagong, its headquarters, Hefazat leader Junaid Babunagri condemned the Supreme Court verdict and spoke of the long march to Ayodhya, not only to "save" the Babri Masjid but also to uproot the Modi government. The Hefazat, an Islamic organisation, which the ruling Sheikh Hasina government says has links to the Jamaat, is a decade old.

Indian government sources said India was aware of the threats. India and Bangladesh were cooperating on all security issues.

The Hefazat is also growing. It recently masterminded the formation of a new Islamic organisation, the Tahaffuz Khatme Nabuwwat Bangladesh (TKNB) at Darul Uloom Islamia Deobhog Madrassa, Narayanganj, near Dhaka, under the chairmanship of Shah Ahmed Shafi.

Attacks on places of worship ::

The militant demonstrations are happening just as reports of attacks on temples are growing. Highly-placed government sources said that idols in a village temple in Andha, Abhaynagar upzilla in Jessore were destroyed on November 1. Local fundamentalists were responsible, the sources said. Similarly, there have been reports of attacks on women belonging to the minority community in Madhukhali upzilla in Faridpur and Bahadurpur in Madaripur.

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