BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir — File Photo
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Saturday alleged that the government is instigating BNP to resort to violence by obstructing its peaceful democratic programmes.
“We had a sit-in programme at 550 thanas and upazilas today and it was obstructed by police almost everywhere. In Dhaka city, the programme was not allowed to be held at almost all the designated places,” he said.
Speaking at an iftar party, the BNP leader said their party has long been carrying out a movement for the restoration of democracy and people’s voting and other rights in a peaceful manner without responding to the provocation for violence.
"It’s now proved that the government is unleashing violence. I think Awami League wants to take us on another path by giving us provocation,” he observed.
The Association of Engineers, Bangladesh arranged the iftar at the Ladies Club in the city’s Eskaton area.
As part of the ongoing movement, the BNP and its associate bodies were scheduled to observe a two-hour sit-in programme from 3pm to 5pm at all upazilas and thanas across the country to press home their 10-point demand, including holding the next general election under a non-party caretaker government, and for registering the party’s protest against the rise in the prices of power, gas and essential items and the Awami League government’s “all-pervading corruption.”
Fakhrul claimed that their party’s around 50 leaders and activists were arrested while observing the programme amid obstructions.
“The government is attacking our programmes as it is not elected by the people. It’s a coward regime which is afraid of people. So, they don’t allow people to hold any rallies. They can’t tolerate criticism by the people,” he said.
The BNP leader said their party’s 17 leaders and activists were gunned down by police while several thousand others were arrested and jailed as they took to the streets for the restoration of democracy.
Fakhrul said the time has come for professionals and intellectuals to raise their voices in favour of people and their rights.
“Nobody is now saying that Bangladesh is very good, Bangladesh is moving in the right direction. The President elected by them (AL) in his farewell speech in parliament yesterday (Friday) uttered some truths. The first thing he said was development without democracy can never be universal. This is what we have repeatedly been saying," the BNP leader said.
Fakhrul also appreciated President Abdul Hamid for his remarks on the importance of politeness and tolerance in politics. “He (President) also urged (the political parties) to reach a consensus forgetting conflict. But the party from which he was elected the President has depleted the country’s resources through looting in the name of development without democracy”
He also said the ruling AL lacks political etiquette and tolerance towards public opinion.