BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Friday alleged that the Awami League government is trying to make enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings part of ‘national culture’.
"The Awami government, which usurped power, has now reached the extreme level of fascism. It’s taken all possible initiatives to make enforced disappearance, extrajudicial killing, kidnapping, extortion and grabbing part of national culture,” he said in a statement.
The statement was issued protesting the jailing of 30 leaders and activists of Chattogram city unit BNP and its associate bodies.
Fakhrul said BNP leaders and activists are put behind bars in ‘false cases’ to hide its failure to check the growing prices of essential commodities and public sufferings for lack of gas, electricity and pure water.
“This’s a continuation of the ongoing repressive policy of the anti-people government. But people are now united to put an end to all misdeeds and misrule. If power is not handed over to people, the powerhouse of the illegitimate regime will fall apart anytime,” he observed.
The BNP leader said denying BNP leaders and activists bails by court in ‘false’ and ‘motivated’ cases has now become an order of the day of the government. “To make such a programme a success, the government has already snatched people’s voting and democratic rights.”
He alleged that the BNP leaders and activists are being imprisoned without any reason in ‘false’ cases to eliminate BNP. “Chattogram city BNP leaders and activists have been sent to jail in a fake and fabricated case as part of the ongoing misdeeds of the present government.”
Fakhrul demanded the release of the jailed BNP leaders and activists immediately and withdrawal of the case filed against them.
Accusing the Parliament Secretariat of violating the constitution by distorting the questions of its MPs, BNP on Wednesday said the current parliament has turned into a "rubber-stamp one".
“The current parliament has completely become a rubber-stamp one…Awami League is now controlling parliament in the same manner they did it from 1972 to 1975. (BNP) MPs are not being allowed to exercise their minimum rights there,” said BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir.
He said, “Not only that, they (govt) are deceiving people by changing the questions submitted by the MPs. It’s unthinkable. When the Speaker and the Parliament Secretariat indulge in such a crime and deception, it's tantamount to violation of the constitution. It’s a crime against the state. It also means bluffing people.”
The BNP leader made the remarks while speaking at a press conference in the presence of the party MPs at its chairperson’s Gulshan office.
Fakhrul alleged that the government is controlling parliament to prolong its power and give the one-party rule a permeant shape under a different cover.
He said their party MPs joined parliament amid various adversities not to give it the validity, but to uphold democracy and 'restore' democracy by using the scope for raising voice there. “But it can’t be accepted in any way that they won't be able to exercise their minimum rights.”
Referring to Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader’s remark that a strong opposition in parliament is necessary for democracy, he said the ruling party leader ‘mocked’ people with such a comment. “Take a step for establishing a parliament of people through holding a fair election under a neutral government and election commission.”
BNP MP Harunur Rashid said the questions they have been submitting for the question-answer session in parliament are being altered and distorted.
"I drew the attention of the Speaker and the Leader of Parliament in this regard. The minister has taken an oath that she would convey the nation the correct information through parliament. But it’s a matter of deep concern that our questions are being changed.”
BNP’s female MP Rumeen Farhana said parliament cannot go beyond the constitution and the rules of procedure.
“As per the constitution and the rules of procedure, the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker may accept or may not accept any question submitted by any MP, but they don’t have any jurisdiction to change or distort the question. But we’re living in a country where there are scams in voting, banks, share market, education, corona equipment and mask procurement. There’s no sector, including the health one, where there is no deception. This deception has now entered parliament,” she said.
Rumeen said the government has no capability and courage to face only seven BNP MPs and give replies to their questions as it is ‘not’ elected with people’s votes.
She claimed that she submitted seven questions in the current parliament session, and all of those have been published with distortion.
“The seven questions published in my name were not ones that I had submitted as they changed those through deception. You talk about strong opposition, but don’t have the courage to publish our questions as those are.”
BNP MPs GM Siraj, Mosharraf Hossain, Aminul Islam and Jahidur Rahman were also present.
BNP on Wednesday demanded the withdrawal of restriction on its ailing Chairperson Khaleda Zia from going abroad for treatment.
"We think it's inhumane for the government to ban our party Chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia from going abroad for treatment," said party standing committee member Nazrul Islam Khan.
He said, "We think it’ll be a humanitarian act to lift such ban so that our leader can go abroad, if necessary, for medical treatment. This’s now our demand. "
The BNP leader made the demand while talking to reporters after placing wreaths at party founder Ziaur Rahman’s grave together with the leaders of Jatiyatabadi Mohila Dal, marking its 42nd founding anniversary.
As the six-month suspension of her sentences in two graft cases expires on September 24, Khaleda Zia's younger brother Shamim Iskander submitted an application to the government on August 25 for its extension.
On September 3, the Law Ministry gave its positive opinion for extending the suspension of Khaleda’s sentences for six months more based on two conditions -- receiving treatment staying at her Gulshan residence and not leaving the country.
On March 25 last, the 76-year-old BNP chief was released from jail for six months upon an executive order.
Nazrul said 76-year-old Khaleda has been staying at her home with serious illness despite various restrictions imposed by the government. “She now needs advanced treatment abroad. She’d received treatment at a hospital (BSMMU) for a long time, but could not recover.”
The BNP leader called upon the leaders and activists of Mohila Dal to get united and join the struggle to ‘restore’ democracy.
Also read: Khaleda still on 'slippery ground'
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Monday said their party has decided to join all the upcoming elections and by-polls.
Speaking at a press conference, he also said their party’s nomination board will finalise the candidates for Dhaka-5, Dhaka-18, Naogaon-6 and Sirajganj-1 by-elections on September 12.
“We’re in favour of taking part in the polls. We stayed away from by-polls to two seats (Bogura and Jessore) due to coronavirus. We’ve now decided to join the local body polls, including upazila ones,” the BNP leader said.
Fakhrul said they will also join the upcoming by-elections to the Dhaka-5, Dhaka-18, Naogaon-6 and Sirajganj-1.
He said BNP will start selling nomination forms among the party aspirants for the by-polls at 10am on September 10.
The aspirants can collect the nomination forms and submit those by 5pm on September 11.
Finally, Fakhrul said the party nomination board will take the interviews of the aspirants and pick four candidates on the evening of September 12.
On August 31 last, the party picked Habibur Rahman Habib, a member of the party chairperson’s advisory council, as its candidate to contest the Pabna-4 by-election billed for September 26.
BNP on Monday demanded an immediate inquiry through a high-level expert team to find out whether the recent explosion of ACs at a mosque in Narayanganj was an act of sabotage.
"The nation doesn’t know whether the incident (in Narayanganj) happened just for electricity, gas or AC problems or it was a deliberate act of sabotage,” said BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir.
He said, "We think there’s an urgent need for a high-level expert committee to look into the matter. It needs to be properly investigated to identify those responsible for the incident and mete out punishment to them.”
Fakhrul made the demand at a press conference at BNP chairperson’s Gulshan office.
Some 40 people suffered burn injuries as all the air conditioners of Baitus Salam Mosque exploded during Esha prayers at Pashchim Talla in Fatullah, Narayanganj on Friday night. At least 26 of them succumbed to their injuries.
Fakhrul said different government agencies are mysteriously making contradictory remarks about the causes of the explosions. “The fire brigade, the power and gas authorities are making different and conflicting statements about the incident.”
He alleged that 26 people died while the rest are fighting for life with serious burn injuries as the government did not take the incident seriously and ensure prompt treatment for them.
The BNP leader said the government should now focus on unearthing the real reasons behind the explosion and its nature instead of thinking of whether the mosque was built legally or not.
He also demanded the government provide each family of the victims who died and suffered injuries from the explosion with adequate compensation.
About the attack on Ghoraghat Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Wahida Khanam, Fakhrul said it has exposed a situation of lawlessness in the country.
He came down hard on the elite force Rab for saying the attackers entered the UNO’s home with an ‘intent to steal valuables. “They could make such a remark at a press conference as they have no accountability.”
The BNP leader said the UNO came under attack as she obstructed the ruling party leaders from ‘grabbing’ a government land. “There’s also an allegation that the ruling party leaders were released after they had been arrested in connection with the attack. It’s an ominous sign.”
He said a fair investigation with the neutral experts should be launched to expose the real scenario and identify the attackers and bring them to justice.
Turning to the issue of Major retired Sinha murder, Fakhrul said it is an extremely beep-rooted incident which has brought extrajudicial killings to the spotlight.
He alleged that the government is now trying to ‘hush up’ the Sinha murder by establishing it as an isolated incident. “It’s in no way an isolated incident. As per the media reports, about 200 people had been killed in Cox's Bazar and all those were extrajudicial killings.”
Also read: N’ganj mosque blast: Death toll climbs to 27
The BNP leader urged the government to stop “extrajudicial” killings and put those involved in such incidents on trial through proper investigation.
Fakhrul alleged that the government has reduced coronavirus tests across the country to hide the real situation. “They stopped tests in different districts. The daily briefing has also been stopped as they’ve got tired of telling lies. They’re now only issuing a press release online. What’s the use of hiding information about infections? Covid-19 has spread badly due to the failure and indifference of the government.”
The BNP leader said the country’s people should wake up to overcome the current situation and establish a democratic and accountable government.
He said though their party stayed away from the race of the by-polls to Bogura, Jessore due to coronavirus, they have decided to join the upcoming upazila, UP and by-polls in the days to come.
Also read: Case filed over Narayanganj mosque blast