Protesting Indian Home Minister Amit Shah’s remark accusing the party of carrying out repression on Hindus in 2001, BNP on Tuesday said minorities were in fact protected during its rule.
“Amit Shah yesterday (Monday) told Indian parliament that minorities were repressed here during the BNP government. We strongly protest it,” said BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir.
He further said, “We can loudly say the interests of minorities were protected here during BNP’s government. Torture on them (minorities) has never been as much as it is during the Awami government.”
Fakhrul came up with the remarks while speaking at a press conference at BNP’s Nayapaltan central office.
While speaking in Lok Sabha on the Citizenship Amendment Bill on Monday, Shah criticised the BNP government and listed a number of instances of gang-rape of Hindu women and attacks on Hindu houses and temples in October, 2001.
Fakhrul also opposed the Citizenship Amendment Bill, which was passed in the Lok Sabha last night, as Muslims migrants were branded as illegal inhabitants of India in the law, and they were made ineligible to get the country’s citizenships.
Fakhrul criticised the government for what he said its failure to resolve the Rohingya crisis and mobilise international support to force Myanmar to take back its citizens.
He said the government is also not strongly raising voice at the international levels against genocide and persecution carried out by Myanmar on Rohingyas.
The BNP leader said the Gambia filed a case with International Court of Justice seeking action against Myanmar for the crime of genocide, but Bangladesh government has no role in this regard.
Condemning the police obstruction to their party’s rally on the International Human Rights Day, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Tuesday alleged that the government is violating all kinds of human rights in a bid to hang onto power.
“Bangladesh never witnessed such incidents of human rights violation, including enforced disappearance, extrajudicial killing and repression on dissidents what have been happening over the last 10 years. The government is violating all types of human rights just to cling to power,” he said.
Speaking at a press conference at the party’s Nayapaltan central office, the BNP leader also alleged that human rights are being violated at every moment in the country.
“You’ve seen that the police have created a war-like situation in front of our office. We’d an announcement to bring out a rally to observe the UN-declared International Human Rights Day, and we had taken preparations for it. But we’re told that action will be taken against us if we get down from our office,” he told reporters.
Fakhrul said their party backed off their decision of taking out the rally as they do not want to engage in any confrontation and clash with police. “It’s an apolitical programme on a global issue, human rights… we protest and condemn the police obstruction to our rally.”
Many BNP leaders and activists gathered in front of the BNP office since morning for joining the rally, but huge police were deployed in front of the office and its adjoining areas following the announcement of the programme.
Later, Fakhrul held the press conference cancelling their scheduled rally programme.
He said protecting human rights in Bangladesh has become a big problem due to the government’s continued repressive acts.
Referring to the statistics of Ain O Salish Kendra, the BNP leader said about 1599 people were killed being subjected to extrajudicial killings in the name of ‘gunfights’ in the last 10 years. “As per our count, it’ll be about 2,000.”
Besides, he said around 35 lakh people were made accused in over 1 lakh cases just because of political dissent. “About 1,000 people were made enforced disappeared. It’s a crime against humanity.”
Fakhrul said those who express dissenting opinions are being arrested, intimidated, threatened and made disappeared, violating their human rights. “These incidents are happening regularly.”
He said the government has committed a serious crime by destroying the country’s election system which created social instability in the country.
The BNP leader said the government has ‘unfairly’ kept their chairperson Khaleda in jail ‘out of political vengeance’. “She deserves bail, but she’s not granted it. Her human right is being violated as she’s not getting the scope for treatment.”
He said the government should realise that people should not deprive of their rights. “They should keep it in mind that no problem can be resolved by shutting all the doors. All opposition leaders and activists, including Khaleda Zia, must be freed and people will have to be allowed to express their dissenting views to overcome the political crisis.”
BNP senior leader Gayeshwar Chandra Roy on Monday said their party MPs should quit parliament to justify its anti-government movement.
“The current parliament is an illegal outcome of December-29 election. Though we’ve joined it for political and strategic reasons, it’s now the responsibility of our MPs to step down first, and then take part in the oust-government movement,” he said.
The BNP leader came up with the remarks while speaking at a discussion arranged by Nari and Shishu Odhikar Forum at the Jatiya Press Club.
Gayeshwar, a BNP standing committee member, said people do not like BNP’s strategy to wage a movement for the government’s downfall keeping its MPs in parliament. “We need to make it clear to people whether we really want to ensure the government’s fall. Only then, people will stand by us and give us support.”
He also said BNP will not able to wage a strong movement until the party can clearly understand people, its political goal and the way to achieve it.
The BNP leader said people want a change in the government as they have got fed up with its ‘misrule’. “How will you (govt) prevent people from bringing that change? How long will you keep Khaleda Zia in jail? She won’t be there in jail for a long time.”
Gayeshwar said Khaleda Zia’s bail in Zia Charitable graft case now depends on the will of Sheikh Hasina and a country, not on the court, as the judges cannot work independently after the ‘brutal removal’ of former Chief Justice SK Sinha. “The present judges are very careful and they won’t want to face the same fate of SK Sinha.”
He urged the BNP leaders and activists to take to the streets braving imprisonment to have Khaleda Zia freed from jail ousting the current government.
The BNP leader opposed the participation of Indian artists in the inaugural ceremony of BPL in the month of Victory.
The BNP leader said India did not show proper respect to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina during her recent visit to West Bengal as it does not consider Bangladesh as an independent and sovereign country.
“We think India helped us in 1971, but after 47 years they (India) think they invested in our country at that period. So, they want to take from us… we need to know much we’re indebted to them. If necessary, we’ll repay it by selling the blood of 16 crore people, but we won’t allow this country to remain under anybody’s bondage.”
BNP vice chairmen Abdul Awal Mintoo, Barkatullah Bulu, party chairperson’s adviser Tahsin Rushdir Luna and joint secretary general Syed Moazzem Hossain Alal, among others, spoke at the programme with Nari o Shishu Odikar Forum convener Selima Rahman in the chair.
A joint meeting of BNP will be held here on Saturday to discuss the country’s latest political situation and work out the party’s next course of action to mount pressure on the government to release its Chairperson Khaleda Zia from jail.
The meeting will be held at BNP's Nayapaltan central office at 11am with its secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir in the chair, said a party press release on Friday.
BNP senior joint secretary general, joint secretaries general, senior leaders of the party’s Dhaka south and north units and presidents/conveners and secretaries/member secretaries of the party’s associate bodies will join the meeting.
After the meeting, Fakhrul will brief the media about its outcome.
A party leader, wishing anonymity, said the meeting will work out programmes to intensify BNP’s demand for the release of Khaleda.
Earlier on Thursday, the Appellate Division deferred until December 12 the hearing on Khaleda’s bail petition in Zia Charitable Trust graft case.
The court also asked the medical board, formed by the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) to treat Khaleda Zia, to submit a report on her health condition before it within December 12, as they could not present the report on Thursday as per the directive given on November 28.
Khaleda has been in jail since being convicted in the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case on February 8, 2018. She was found guilty in another corruption case later the same year, though her party claims both cases are politically motivated.
The BNP chief has been receiving treatment at the BSMMU since April 1 this year.
Jatiya Party Chairman GM Quader on Thursday said social inequality is growing in the country despite the impressive growth rate.
“The way economic growth is moving up, the number of poor people is not decreasing the same way. Instead, the number of poor people is gradually rising which is widening the social inequality,” he said.
GM Quader came up with the remarks while speaking at a meeting with central committee of Jatiya Hawkers Party at the party President’s Banani Office.
He said the growing inequality is one of the major barriers to building a society based on justice and fairness.
The Jatiya Party chief said both the numbers of the poor and the rich are increasing as the discrepancy is growing. “It can in no way be a good sign of a healthy society.”
He said their party wants the number of middleclass in society to grow and poor to be upgraded to the middleclass.
“Jatiya party is doing politics for building a just society. We want the children of poor people to become doctors and engineers and thus upgrade their social positions,” GM Quader added.