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2 September, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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BNP DEMANDS include poll-time neutral govt, JS dissolution and EC reconstitution

BNP calls for greater unity

Party holds rally to mark 40th founding anniversary
STAFF REPORTER
BNP calls for greater unity
A top shot shows a section of a large rally on the road stretch in front of BNP’s central office at Nayapaltan in the capital yesterday. Independent Photo

The BNP yesterday (Saturday) called upon all political parties, organisations and individuals to forge a greater national unity for the sake of democracy and sovereignty of the country, by removing the current “autocratic regime.” “Forgetting differences and disputes, all political parties, organisations and individuals should get united and forge greater national unity for the sake of democracy and the country,” said BNP secretary general, Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, while addressing a mammoth rally in front of the party's central office at Naya Paltan.

“From now on, there should not be disunity among us. Let us come forward to forge a greater national unity to oust the autocratic and undemocratic ruler and restore people’s government in the country,” he added. The BNP leader also placed a six-point demand, including resignation of the government, dissolution of Parliament and forming of a poll-time neutral administration before announcement of the schedule for the 11th parliamentary polls.

The demands also include immediate and unconditional release of the party’s imprisoned chairperson, Khaleda Zia, and its other leaders who are now behind bars in connection with “politically motivated cases”, creating a level playing field, giving responsibility to the army to  conduct the polls and forming a new Election Commission.

The BNP organised the rally to mark its 40th founding anniversary. It began at 2:00pm and turned into a huge show of strength ahead of the next general election. Thousands of party leaders and activists, carrying banners, placards and festoons demanding immediate release of the party chairperson, joined the rally from different areas of the city and adjacent districts. Mirza Alamgir, who presided over the rally, referred to Khaleda as the mother of democracy. He said she is now in prison for the sake of democracy and called upon party leaders and activists to turn around with courage.

“We have to wage a movement to free our leader… We do not want to see her (Khaleda) in prison anymore,” he asserted.   He alleged that the party chairperson is not being given facilities provided to a normal prisoner and was not being given treatment. He warned that if the government does not release Khaleda immediately and provide her proper treatment, they have to take the responsibility if anything happened.

The BNP leader accused the government of hatching conspiracies to hang on to power as people are not with it. “They want to introduce electronic voting machines (EVMs) in the next polls as they know that people won’t protect them anymore. The AL has turned into a bankrupt political party,” he added.

Recalling the quota reform movement and students’ agitation for safe roads and the arrest of celebrated photographer Shahidul Alam, he alleged that the government has taken repressive measures against them. “They youth want change…They have been awakened again and they would ensure release of the deshmata (mother of the country) sacrificing their blood,” he said.

The BNP secretary general mentioned that many party leaders have been victims of enforced disappearances and many leaders, including Abdus Salam Pintu and Lutfozzaman Babar, are suffering in jail for years. He demanded withdrawal of all false cases filed against party leaders and activists, including chairperson Khaleda Zia and Tarique Rahman.

Criticising the statements of ruling party leaders that Tarique Rahman would be convicted in the August 21st grenade attack case, he wondered whether they have taken over the responsibility of judges. He warned that the people will not accept any conspiratorial verdict and would give a fitting reply to it.

He alleged that the Awami League is seeing a bad dream and is suffering from fear of Khaleda and Tarique Rahman 24 hours.    

Speaking at the rally as chief guest, standing committee member, Dr Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, alleged that the government is hatching a conspiracy against the BNP, but he said they would not be able to resist the party whose ideology has been accepted by the people.

“As part of the conspiracy, Khaleda has been put in jail in a false case. They fear the BNP and its chairperson Khaleda Zia and Tarique Rahman,” he said. The former minister further said the AL wants to hold another January 5 like farcical and lopsided election, keeping Khaleda and the BNP outside the election process.

He said freeing Khaleda is a challenge for the BNP and she should be released unconditionally before announcement of the poll schedule. “The election will not be acceptable, without participation of the BNP and its chairperson Khaleda,” he added.

He called upon party leaders and activists to get united  for a movement, saying the chairperson will not be freed without a movement and democracy would not be free without Khaleda.

Echoing them, other party leaders also demanded resignation of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the Chief Election Commissioner, KM Nurul Huda, for holding the next general election in a free, fair and credible manner.

They said the election will have to be held under a non-party neutral administration for restoration of democracy in the country.

Standing committee members, Barrister Moudud Ahmed, Barrister Jamiruddin Sircar, Mirza Abbas, Goyeshwar Chandra Roy, Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury, vice-chairmen Selima Rahman, Barkatullah Bulu, Shamsuzzaman Dudu, Ahmed Azam Khan and joint secretary general Syed Moazzem Hossain Alal, among others, addressed the meeting.

At both ends of the rally venue, there was heavy police presence, with water cannons, prison vans and armoured vehicles.

The road stretch between Kakrail and Fakirerpul filled up within 2:00pm as the leaders and activists came to the venue in processions wearing caps of different colours, holding banners, festoons and placards, along with bands. They chanted slogans in favour of the late President, Ziaur Rahman, founder of the BNP, Khaleda Zia and against the government.

Movement of vehicles in front of the BNP headquarters stopped around 1pm. The BNP said on August 29 that it had got permission from the Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) to hold the rally.

Earlier in the morning, BNP leaders placed wreaths at the mazar of Ziaur Rahman at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar in the city to mark the party’s founding anniversary.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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