BNP on Sunday alleged that the government orchestrated the communal attacks on the Ahmadiyya community in Panchagarh to make a political gain by putting the blame on its political opponents.
Speaking at a press conference, Party Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said the government mainly tried to weaken the BNP’s ongoing movement for the restoration of democracy and tarnish the party’s image both at home and abroad by implicating it with communal violence.
“This incident was pre-planned. It’s been carried out in a planned way to divert people’s attention to a different direction from the ongoing movement for the restoration of democracy and create a negative impression of BNP both at home and abroad. The government did it with its own people,” he said.
The BNP leader alleged that the government has chosen a path of brutal repression by putting the blame on the BNP leaders and activists for the communal violence that was carried out by the ruling party activists. “They did it to suppress the opposition and foil the ongoing movement.”
The BNP leader said it is an old habit of the Awami League to put the blame on others by carrying out any incident by itself. “They blamed BNP for the arson attacks in the past.”
The press conference was held at the BNP chairperson’s Gulshan office to present the report prepared by the party’s committee members who investigated the communal incident.
As per a decision of their party standing committee, Fakhrul said they formed the probe committee led by party vice chairman Hafizuddin Ahmed.
He said the probe committee visited the violence-hit area on March 8 and prepared the report after talking to the victims and locals and relevant stakeholders.
He said attacking the Ahmadiyya community in Panchagarh and damaging their houses and looting their valuables is an inhuman and shocking incident. “We don’t want to see such things in the country.”
Fakhrul said their probe body saw a suspicion created in the public mind whether the incident is premeditated due to extreme negligence of duties on part of the government and police.
He said the government has now created a reign of terror in the violence-affected areas by filing 20 cases against over 12,000 people, including 1,000 identified ones.
Fakhrul said police have already arrested 181 people and continued their drive to arrest others. “We think the government is arresting people wholesale only to hide the real offenders. They’re doing this with an ulterior motive fully out of their political vengeance.”
The BNP leaders said the government has planned this kind of communal incident to completely suppress and divert the people's movement meant for restoring democratic rights.
He said BNP always believes in communal harmony and the equal rights of all faiths.
Fakhrul said an incident like Panchagarh one is taking place in the country for the lack of democracy and the accountability of the government. “Restoring democracy and establishing a government of people by ousting the current fascist regime is the only solution to such a problem."
On March 4, a vested interest group spread rumours in different parts of Panchagarh district town and on social media saying that some Ahmadiyya community members slaughtered two Muslims.
Following the rumours, some young people equipped with sticks and sharp weapons blocked roads, carried out arson attacks, and looted shops and houses of the Ahmadiyya community.