BNP on Friday strongly protested a recent article written by The Daily Star Editor Mahfuz Anam about the party’s role during the August-21 grenade attack, 2004 and branded him as a ‘kingpin’ of democracy killers' in Bangladesh.
"A big question has arisen in the public mind whether Mahfuz Anam's journalism is a mask for objectivity. We turn down with hatred the remarks Mahfuz Anam made on August 21 and our leader (Khaleda Zia) in his dictated and ill-motivated article,” said BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi.
He made the remarks at a press conference at BNP’s Nayapaltan central office.
On September 15, The Daily Star Editor wrote the article headlined ‘After 30 years of autocracy’s demise, democracy still remains a distant dream’, marking the International Day of Democracy.
In the article, Mahfuz Anam said, “For those who may have doubted the BNP chief's direct involvement with this dastardly act found themselves totally betrayed by the way this national tragedy was handled in which 24 citizens were killed, including Ivy Rahman, chief of AL's women's wing and the wife of Zillur Rahman, a highly respected veteran political leader, later to become president. Practically no attempt was made to hold a credible investigation—strengthening suspicion of the government's involvement—and what we heard on the floor of the parliament dominated by BNP at that time, was both contemptuous of truth and disrespectful of public intelligence, foreshadowing the shameful "Joge Mia" incident and the farcical judicial inquiry that were to follow.”
Rizvi termed The Daily Star editor's remarks "purely false, misleading, ill-motivated and inconsistent".
Referring to the role of Mahfuz Anam during the army-backed caretaker government in 2007, he said, "Though Mahfuz Anam, one of the masterminds of the 1/11 political changeover, outcries for democracy, he is in fact the ‘kingpins’ of democracy annihilators and a subservient follower of fascism to gain his personal interests.”
Recalling Shakespeare's quote, “There’re more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy,” he said, “I can't say what happened in heaven, but Mahfuz Anam is an example of multi-faced people who are involved in many incidents.”
The BNP leader said, Mahfuz Anam ‘subtly’ spit venom against the previous BNP-led government while talking about democracy which is tantamount to ‘yellow’ journalism and the ‘shameless’ praise of the current ‘midnight’ government.
He said The Daily Star editor has now indulged in a competition of appeasing the government after repeatedly apologising for running news based on ‘false and fabricating stories’. “The vision and mission of his writing is to publish fabricated and baseless stories against BNP. Whether it’s out of fear or out of a desire for personal gains, it’s now his wish to appease the Awami government which is engaged in undemocratic and reckless behavior. Mahfuz Anam now has become a worshiper of Awami neo-Nazism.”
The BNP leader said Mahfuz Anam and his a few associates from the so-called civil society were involved in a deep-rooted conspiracy to establish the unconstitutional rule of 1/11 by annihilating democracy in the country. “Not transparent journalism, he has been working as an agent of foreign financiers, masters and local intelligence agencies. Mahfuz Anam's evil efforts and role in the destruction of democracy and the rise of fascism in Bangladesh will remain as a stigmatised history.”
He alleged that The Daily Star editor had played a "significant role" in creating the background for the arrest of the country's politicians and implementing the ‘minus-two formula’ during the 1/11 political changeover.
In the eyes of Mahfuz Anam, Rizvi said all the faults lie with the politicians as if politicians are all extortionists and thieves, and only they have amassed huge wealth illegally. “A list of politicians bringing fabricated allegations against them had been published in The Daily Star (during the 1/11) and more than 150 leaders imprisoned.”
Stating that the country has now become a 'stage of executioners' under the present Awami League government, Rizvi said, “We think his (Mahfuz Anam) article is a new addition to yellow journalism and outcry for democracy. Remember, when a vulture cries, it cries for the cow, not for any tragedy of the animals.”