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POST TIME: 12 September, 2018 12:36:59 AM
Unity if BNP quits Jamaat, says Dr Kamal
Gano Forum chief flays Khaleda's trial in jail
STAFF REPORTER

Unity if BNP quits Jamaat, says Dr Kamal

Gano Forum president and constitutional expert, Dr Kamal Hossain, has said that there will be no unity if the Jamaat-e-Islami, a major partner of the BNP, is included in it. "I and our party won't forge any unity with the Jamaat. But I don't know what other parties will do," he said while speaking at a press conference at the Jatiya Press Club yesterday (Tuesday). The elderly leader, however, said the Jamaat is no longer a political a party as its registration has been cancelled.

Asked whether they would forge unity with the BNP or BNP-led 20-Party Alliance, Kamal Hossain said time would tell what would happen. He criticised the government for holding the trial of Khaleda Zia by shifting the makeshift court from the Alia Madrasa ground to the Old Dhaka Central Jail. “The decision was not taken as per the Constitution. I think it (BNP) will challenge the decision, and the court will judge it. If I go to the court, I’ll say it’s not constitutional,” he said.

Kamal Hossain, also a noted jurist, said holding the trial of an opposition leader in jail is not the right thing to do. On ruling party leaders’ remarks on holding the trial of Col Taher in jail, the Gano Forum chief said it was held during the military rule 41 years back. “It’s not logical to shift the court to the jail by citing such an instance. I think the Constitution has been violated,” he observed. Mentioning that he has heard that Khaleda Zia’s health condition has deteriorated, Kamal Hossain said a sick person should not suffer this way when there is a long tradition of allowing sick prisoners receiving treatment in any hospital.

“An ailing person should not be harassed and given pain. The government shouldn’t forget we live in a civilised society,” he also said.  The Gano Forum chief voiced serious concern over the recent arrest spree of opposition leaders, activists and students, alleging that a large number of opposition activists were arrested by people in plainclothes without any warrant. This is misuse of power vested upon the government, he said.

He termed arresting people by plainclothes persons as unlawful and contrary to the Constitution of the country, saying that the recent unlawful arrests have created a fearful atmosphere ahead of the next general election likely to be held later this year. The eminent jurist criticised the government for arresting and taking on remand those students who waged movements for quota reform and safe roads. Expressing his concern over picking up students by plainclothes men without admitting their arrest by law enforcers and disclosing after three to four days, Kamal Hossain said before arresting anybody, the police have to show the arrest warrant to state why a person is being arrested and where the person would be taken.

He said law enforcers have to produce the arrested one before the court within 24 hours. Kamal Hossain, one of those who drafted Bangladesh’s Constitution, asked the government to refrain from “unlawful” arrest by plainclothes men. Otherwise, he warned, if the plainclothes people continued their operations, people may start catching them.

“The existing law does not allow arrest by plainclothes police. Such incidents of violating the law may happen one or two times for special reasons. But it went on regularly, which means disobeying the Constitution,” he noted. He also alleged that as the sudden arrests started, old cases are being revived and cases are being filed staging incidents. “Power must be exercised following rules and abiding by the Constitution. We’re now worried we’re going beyond the constitutional rule,” he said.

He urged the government to remain alert so that people are not harassed unlawfully and law enforcers do not abuse power. Replying to a question, Kamal Hossain said there has been progress in the initiative for forging a greater unity to ensure a free, fair and inclusive national election in the country.

The Gano Forum chief regretted that the government did not give them permission to hold their public meeting at Suhrawardy Udyan as part of their efforts to forge national unity. But the government gave permission to hold the meeting at Mohanagar Natya Mancha in the city on September 22, he added.

Referring to the arrest of several hundred BNP leaders and activists from their Monday’s human-chain programme, Kamal Hossain said the government should refrain from such acts to ensure a normal situation in the country ahead of the elections. Senior party leaders, including Gano Forum executive president advocate Subrata Chowdhury, were present at the press conference.

SR