Gonoforum (GF) General Secretary Dr Reza Kibria on Sunday said some members of their party have tried to tarnish its image by holding an unauthorised meeting in its name.
In a press release, he said those who joined that meeting actually removed themselves from Gonoforum by violating its discipline.
“It’s deeply regrettable that a handful of party members have violated the party discipline and tried to damage its image. Those who don’t hold any post of Gonoforum held a meeting on September 26 without any decision of the party and falsely claimed it’s a meeting of the party,” Reza Kibria said.
He said those unable to abide by the decisions of the party leadership “are welcome to leave Gonoforum”. “But they must not deceive anyone into believing they’re associated with Gonoforum.”
Maintaining discipline is a major challenge in every political party in Bangladesh, he said those who have consistently acted against the interests of Gonoforum should not expect their behaviour and action will be taken by the party.
“Those participated in the meeting of the 26th September at the Press Club have effectively removed themselves from Gonoforum,” Reza added.
On Saturday, an "extended meeting of Gonoforum's central committee" convened by a group of party leaders, led by its former general secretary Mostafa Mohsin Montu and executive presidents Dr Abu Sayeed and Subrata Chowdhury, was held at the Jatiya Press Club.
At the meeting, they decided to hold a national council on December 26 next and expel party general secretary Dr Reza Kibria and three other leaders from the party.
Conflicts within the party leaders began after its fifth council held on April 26 last year as many party leaders, including then general secretary Mostafa Mohsin Montu, were left out from the committee formed there.
Reza Kibria who joined the party before the 11th parliamentary election in 2018 was made party general secretary replacing Montu.
Also read: Gonoforum faction ousts Dr Reza Kibria
Strongly denouncing the incident of a ‘gang-rape’ in a dormitory of Sylhet MC College, BNP on Sunday alleged that it has depicted the ‘lawlessness and anarchic’ situation created in the country by ‘Awami League’.
"The incident at Sylhet MC College is horrific and shocking. It exposed the real scenario of the country where no one has any security now. A lawlessness and anarchic situation created by Awami League is now prevailing in the country,” said BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir.
Speaking at a press conference at BNP chairperson’s Gulshan office, he said, "We strongly condemn this (rape) incident. We demand immediate arrest of the offenders of Chhatra League and put them under the law.”
A 19-year-old married girl was reportedly raped by a group of youths in a dormitory of Sylhet MC College on Friday night. The rapists violated the girl around 7pm after tying up her husband in a room of the hostel.
Fakhrul said rape incidents marked a sharp rise since Awami League came to power. “The nation never witnessed such a rise in rape incidents in the past. It’s the most shameful matter that the leaders of the student body of an old party like Awami League have involvement with all these incidents.”
Even after nearly 50 years of the country’s independence, he bemoaned that rape incidents are happening repeatedly. "Whenever Awami League has come to power in the country, such anarchy has increased and the law and order situation has deteriorated drastically. Awami League has succeeded in creating panic among people across the country."
The BNP leader said the people who used to raise voice in favour of people’s demands and rights have got silent now out of fear and a sense of insecurity. “Even, we've never seen journalists behave what they are doing now. They’re now forced to find out the faults of BNP and bring those to limelight. You’re doing these to protect your jobs.”
He said the government has lost control over the police force for using them in carrying out ‘misdeeds’ and ‘usurping’ power. “Police now tell Awami League leaders right away that we’ve brought you to power. So, how does the bankrupt government control police?”
About the plight of expatriates, he said the government has completely failed to ensure the return of the expatriates to the countries they work. “They (expatriates) were not given the protection they were supposed to get when they arrived. They didn’t get economic incentives that they were supposed to be provided with.”
Fakhrul, also a former state minister for civil aviation, said the government should have taken steps earlier so that the expatriates do not face any hassle and crisis of air tickets in returning to their job destinations. “But they didn’t do that as they’re only busy with making money.”
About Saturday’s by-polls to Pabna-4, he said it has again proved that the current Election Commission has no capability to arrange any credible election.
He demanded reelection to the Pabna-4 vacant seat cancelling Saturday’s voting and results.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday emphasised on the need for a better cooperation with neighbouring countries for the development of the people of this region.
"We always think that better cooperation is needed with the neighbouring countries firstly for the development of the people of the region as our foreign policy is 'friendship to all and malice towards none'," she said.
The prime minister made the remarks when outgoing Indian High Commissioner Riva Ganguly Das called on her at her official residence Ganobhaban.
After the meeting, PM's Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim briefed reporters.
Sheikh Hasina also said that the neighbouring countries can use Chattogram, Sylhet and Syedpur airports for their convenience.
Ihsanul Karim said the prime minister and the high commissioner discussed bilateral issues.
The COVID-19 situation and the protracted Rohingya crisis also came up during the talks, he said.
Riva Ganguly said the two countries are working together to combat the virus.
She also appreciated the steps Bangladesh has taken under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to contain the pandemic.
The high commissioner lauded Bangladesh's economic development under the leadership of the prime minister amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
Sheikh Hasina said the people of all classes and professions are working together during this crisis.
She mentioned that large-scale programmes had been taken on the occasion of the 'Mujib Borsho'. "But we couldn’t celebrate many programmes due to coronavirus outbreak," she said.
She said alongside the government's tree plantation campaign, her party has taken a programme to plant 10 million trees across the country during the Mujib Borsho.
The high commissioner handed over a letter from Indian Premier Narendra Modi in which he (Modi) greeted Sheikh Hasina on the occasion of her 74th birthday.
The high commissioner also wished the prime minister on the occasion of her birthday.
The prime minister thanked Modi and Riva Ganguly for greeting her, the press secretary said.
Sheikh Hasina recalled India's contributions to Bangladesh's Liberation War in 1971.
She said the people of India and its political parties extended overwhelming support to Bangladesh's Liberation War and at the same way they supported the historic land boundary agreement with Bangladesh.
The Indian high commissioner informed the prime minister that the foreign ministers of the two countries are likely to hold talks virtually on Tuesday.
PM's Principal Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus and Indian Deputy High Commissioner in Dhaka Bishwadip Dey were present on the occasion.
The fourth death anniversary of former BNP standing committee member ASM Hannan Shah will be observed on Sunday.
BNP and ASM Hannan Shah Smriti Parishad have chalked out various programmes, including discussions and milad mahfil, to mark the day.
Local BNP leaders and different socio-political organisations will place wreaths at Hanna Shah’s grave at Ghagutia village in Gazipur’s Kapasia upazila on Sunday morning.
A virtual discussion in memory of Hannan Shah will also be arranged where BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir is expected to join as the chief guest.
ASM Hannan Shah Smriti Parishad will arrange a milad mahfil on the occasion, seeking the eternal peace of his departed soul.
BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul issued a statement on the occasion recalling the contributions of the late leader to the party.
On September 27, 2016, Hannan Shah died at a hospital in Singapore at the age of 77.
Hannan Shah, who retired in 1981 as a brigadier general of Bangladesh Army, joined BNP in 1983 and was inducted into the cabinet when BNP came to power in 1991. He had also been elected MP twice from Gazipur-4 constituency.
Gonoforum’s former general secretary Mostafa Mohsin Montu on Saturday said their party President Dr Kamal Hossain is suffering from a little bit of memory problem as he messes up many things these days.
Dr Kamal, however, said it is an ‘evil tactic’ of a group of leaders who are trying to create chaos in Gonoforum to mislead people.
Talking to reporters after an extended meeting of a faction of Gonoforum leaders at the Jatiya Press Club, Montu said they frequently talked to Kamal Hossain and met him for holding a meeting of the party's central committee and fixing a date for its national council.
“We also sent him a letter. We also met him a few days back and he assured us of holding a meeting. Later, he denied saying anything like that. What we think he may forget some things. I think he is suffering from a little memory problem. Besides, he messes up many things due to the influence of an evil quarter,” he said.
Montu, however, hoped that their party will remain united. “We hope good sense will prevail upon him (Kamal) to take steps so that those of us started the journey of Gonoforum 27 years back can work together.”
Earlier, a faction of Gonoforum leaders, led by Montu, Dr Abu Sayeed and Subrata Chowdhury, had an extended meeting of the party’s central committee where they decided to hold a national council on December 26 next. They also decided to expel party general secretary Dr Reza Kibria and three other leaders from the party.
Party president Dr Kamal Hossain and general secretary Dr Reza Kibria were not invited to join the meeting.
Montu said they repeatedly tried to convince Dr Kamal to resolve the problems within the party and sit with the party leaders, but he only bought time and did not take any step in this regard. “He gave many dates, but unfortunately forgot those due to the invisible interference by some individuals. That’s why we decided to hold the meeting.”
Asked whether Dr Kamal is with them, he said, “We surely think he’s with us, and we urge him to abandon the controversial people.”
Replying to a question whether Dr Kamal will remain their president if he does not accept their meeting’s decision, Montu said it will be decided at the party’s council.
Contacted, Dr Kamal Hossain told UNB that the meeting in the name of Gonoforum is illegal as party president and convener is not aware of it.
“They’ve no organisational power and constitutional authority to hold a meeting in the name of Gonoforum. Our party has no relation with that meeting,” he said.
Dr Kamal said he is unwilling to talk about the decisions of the meeting since those are only opinions of some individuals.
As his attention was drawn to Montu’s remark that he now suffers from memory problems, the Gonoforum president said, “It’s their strategy to confuse people. I’m not interested in reacting to such a comment. In fact, I’ve no relation with them now.”
Replying to another question whether some party leaders are misguiding him to create troubles in the party, he said those who illegally held a meeting in Gonoforum’s name are the troublemakers.
Also read: Gonoforum faction ousts Dr Reza Kibria