The High Court on Tuesday granted bail to sacked minister Abdul Latif Siddique in seven separate cases filed in Dhaka and Narayanganj for his disparaging remarks on hajj and Tablig Jamaat.
An HC bench comprising Justice Nizamul Haque and Justice Farid Ahmad Shibly granted the bail after hearing a petition filed by Latif Siddiqu’s lawyers.
Besides, the court suspended all the proceedings of the cases for six weeks, and also issued a rule seeking explanation as to why proceedings of the cases should not be cancelled.
However, Latif Siddique will not be able to come out of the jail as he has been indicted in 21 more cases in other districts in connection with his remarks on hajj and Tablig Jamaat, Barrister Jyotirmoy Barua, Latif Siddique’s lawyer, told reporters.
Earlier on September 28 last year, at a views-exchange meeting with expatriates from Tangail in New York, Latif Siddique made disparaging remarks about hajj, one of the main pillars of Islam, and Tablig Jamaat.
Latif Siddique had said: “During hajj, too much of manpower is wasted. Over 20 lakh people have gone to Saudi Arabia to perform hajj. They’ve no work, no production and they only cause deduction.”
“Some 20 lakh Tablig Jamaat people get together annually who don’t do any work except halting traffic movement across the country,” he added.
His remarks triggered widespread criticisms both at home and abroad.
Latif Siddique was dropped from the cabinet and expelled from Awami League for his derogatory comments.
He was shown arrested by the police on November 25 in one of the seven cases filed against him in Dhaka for his disparaging remarks on hajj and Tablig Jamaat.
The case was filed with the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court by Advocate ANM Abed Raja, former president of Dhaka Metropolitan Bar Association.
Latif Siddique was sent to jail by Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate Atiqur Rahman when police produced him before the court following his surrender at the Dhanmondi Police Station on November 25.
Later, Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Bikash Kumar Sarker transferred the case to the Court of Metropolitan Magistrate Mohammad Asaduzzaman Noor.
A number of courts across the country, including in Dhaka, Chittagong and Narail, issued warrants for the arrest of Latif Siddique in separate cases filed for hurting the religious sentiments of Muslims with his derogatory comments.- UNB