Govt resorts to ‘extreme’ repression using DSA to gag media: BNP
Voicing deep concern over suing one after another against journalists, including Prothom Alo editor Matiur Rahman, under the Digital Security Act (DSA), BNP on Thursday alleged that the government has been carrying out extreme repression by using the ‘black’ law to gag the media. In a statement, party Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam demanded the immediate repeal of the Digital Security Act and the withdrawal of all cases filed against journalists. After picking up Prothom Alo reporter Samsuzzaman Shams by law enforcers early Wednesday, Fakhrul said a case was filed against the editor of the newspaper, Matiur Rahman, on Wednesday late night under the DSA. Besides, he said a Jubo League leader filed another case under the DSA against Daily Jugantor's Special Correspondent and ex-general secretary of Crime Reporters’ Association Mahbub Alam Lavllu in Chattogram. The BNP leader strongly protested and denounced the filing of the cases against the journalists under the DSA on ‘false’ charges. “Filing of cases one after the other against journalists, including Prothom Alo Editor Matiur Rahman, under the DSA a severe blow to the freedom of expression,” he observed. Read more: Prothom Alo journalist Shams denied bail, sent to jail Fakhrul alleged that the government has demonstrated that it wants to bury democracy forever by filing a case under the Digital Security Act against Matiur Rahman, one of the country's leading newspaper editors. By suing journalists under the DSA, he said the government wants to send out a message to the country’s people that the government's activities cannot be criticised and opinions cannot be expressed freely. “The Awami League government is continuing its terrible misrule in the country by indiscriminately repressing and suppressing the media, the fourth pillar of the state,” the BNP leader said. He also said the case against Matiur Rahman was undoubtedly filed at the behest of the government. Fakhrul said the country’s people and the media have got panicked due to the killing and repression of journalists across the country.
Prothom Alo journalist Shams taken to court
Prothom Alo reporter Shamsuzzaman Shams was taken to the Dhaka Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Court today, in connection with a case filed against him under Digital Security Act. A team of police took him to the court today (March 30, 2023) around 10:10 am. Criminal Investigation Department (CID) men in plainclothes picked up Shams from his residence in Ambagan area, adjacent to Jahangirnagar University, around 4:30 am on Wednesday (March 29, 2023). The same day, a Jubo League leader filed a case under the Digital Security Act against Shams, accusing him of publishing a "false and fabricated report" in the daily Prothom Alo. Also read; Prothom Alo reporter Shamsuzzaman sued under DSA Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan yesterday said that members of Criminal Investigation Department (CID) arrested the Prothom Alo reporter in a case. Meanwhile, opposition party BNP has denounced Shams' arrest, saying it is a "dreadful incident". Rights body Manabadhikar Shongskriti Foundation also condemned the arrest of the Prothom Alo journalist. Besides, editor of the leading daily Prothom Alo, Matiur Rahman, has been sued alongside other staff members under the Digital Security Act. Prothom Alo reported the development at 3:19 am today on its website. Read More: Prothom Alo editor sued under DSA
BNP pays tribute to Liberation War martyrs, vows to continue movement
BNP today paid homage to the martyrs of the Liberation War by placing a wreath at the National Martyrs’ Memorial, marking Independence Day, and took a vow to continue its movement for the “restoration of democracy and voting rights of people”. Party leaders and activists, led by its Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, placed the wreath at the altar of the memorial at Savar in the morning. After placing the wreath, they stood in solemn silence for a while in memory of the martyrs of the Liberation War. Later, talking to reporters, Fakhrul said the Liberation War began in 1971 through the “proclamation of independence by BNP founder Ziaur Rahman”. “The independence of Bangladesh was achieved through nine months of bloody struggle. We participated in the Liberation War with a dream and hope of building a democratic state. Unfortunately, even after 52 years of independence, people are sacrificing their lives and carrying on a struggle for democracy,” he said. Also read: Nation celebrating Independence Day The BNP leader said people have lost their right to speak and right to vote while journalists have lost their right to write the truth as an “authoritarian government” has been established in the country. He bemoaned that their party chairperson Khaleda Zia was jailed as she started a movement for the “restoration of democracy” while over 35 lakh opposition leaders and activists have been harassed by implicating them in “false” cases. On this Independence Day, Fakhrul said their party leaders and activists took a vow that they will continue the movement that they have started to “bring back democracy, the right to vote, to bring the prices of essential commodities at a tolerable level and to turn Bangladesh into a truly democratic state.” Later, they went to BNP founder Ziaur Rahman's grave at Sher-e Bangla Nagar and placed a wreath there. They also offered munajat there seeking the salvation of Zia's departed soul. BNP standing committee members Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, Dr. Abdul Moyeen Khan, Nazrul Islam Khan, Vice-chairmen Barrister Shahjahan Omar, party’s Dhaka south city unit convener Abdus Salam, Dhaka north city unit convener Abdus Salam, joint secretaries general Khairul Kabir Khokon, Habib-un-Nabi Khan Sohel, among others were present. Earlier in the morning, BNP hoisted the national and the party flags atop its offices, including the Nayapaltan central one, on the occasion. The party arranged a discussion on Saturday at Mohanagar Natya Mancha, marking the day. On March 16, the party chalked out a 10-day day program to celebrate Independence Day. On March 27, Bangladesh Jatiyatabadi Muktijoddha Dal, the freedom fighters' wing of BNP, will organize a “mass gathering of freedom fighters” in front of BNP's Nayapaltan central office. Besides, the party's different units and associate bodies also took various programmes, including discussions, to mark the day.
BNP's movement to continue with programmes through Ramadan
As part of the party’s decision to continue its movement, BNP on Friday announced fresh programmes, including sit-in and mass campaign, from the metropolitan city to union levels to press home their 10-point demand, including holding the next general election under a non-party caretaker government. The programme is also meant for registering the party’s protest against the rise in the prices of power, gas and essential items and the Awami League government’s all-pervasive corruption. BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir announced the programme at an iftar party at the Ladies Club in the city. As part of the programme, the party will stage a sit-in from 2pm to 4pm on April 1 in all metropolitan cities and districts towns. Also Read: Fakhrul has no say in BNP’s internal politics: Quader Besides, a similar programme will be observed from 3pm to 5pm on April 8 at all thanas in metropolitan cities and at all upazilas in the districts.
Fakhrul has no freedom of expression inside BNP: Quader
Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader on Friday said BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir has no freedom of expression in his party’s internal politics as the party is run on the prescription of a convicted fugitive. “We understand the pain of Mirza Fakhrul Alamgir. In fact, Mirza Fakhrul has no freedom of expression in the internal politics of BNP. Fakhrul Saheb is forced to accept the decision, which is descended from far London, staying mum,” the AL leader said in a statement. Quader, also the Road Transport and Bridges Minister, alleged that the committees are formed and dissolved, expulsion and reward are fixed, and business centering committees and nomination is done, in undemocratic ways going against the charter. Also Read: No scope for reinstating caretaker government in the country: Quader to US Ambassador Haas Protesting Fakhrul’s recent remarks regarding the people’s freedom of speech and freedom of expression, he said Fakhrul has captured the people’s freedom of speech and his freedom of expression in his party’s internal politics in a single frame. “So, Mirza Fakhrul is indulging in a grudge against the government like a parrot,” said the AL general secretary. He said Bangabandhu's daughter Sheikh Hasina has been running the government, keeping public aspirations and expectations in mind in a bid to ensure the welfare of the people. Also Read: US HR report depicts Bangladesh’s terrible situation: Fakhrul All the endeavors of the government are being conducted, not to keep the people silent rather to fulfill the public aspirations and expectation, he said, criticizing the BNP’s past regime for its misrules. Also Read: BNP won't go to election under AL, Fakhrul reiterates “We are united under the leadership of Bangabandhu's daughter Sheikh Hasina to establish a developed-prosperous, human-welfare and smart Bangladesh for the next generation. Victory will be ours, Inshallah,” said Obaidul Quader.
BNP won't go to election under AL, Fakhrul reiterates
The main opposition BNP would not go to election under an Awami League government and no election will be allowed under the incumbent, said BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Monday. “It is impossible to hold a fair election under a party involved in vote rigging in even the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) election and BNP will not participate in the next election led by the ruling party Awami League and it is final. Rather BNP with people of the country will resist the planned farcical election,” he said. Fakhrul came up with the remark while speaking at the biennial conference of Nilphamari district unit BNP at Syedpur municipality community hall on Monday. BNP’s acting chairman Tarique Rahman virtually joined the conference. “Awami League is involved in confusing the nation by creating a political crisis in a planned way and it also established ‘reign of terror’ after snatching the rights of people. The Awami League pushed the country into bankruptcy by smuggling several thousand crores of money abroad. As a result, people are bearing the brunt of the soaring price of commodities,” said Fakhrul. Also read: AL destroys electoral system by “so-called” SCBA polls, says BNP demanding fresh vote “People will not go for any election under Awami League and they will not be allowed to grab the power through the people of the administration they set in the administration. The rights to vote will be returned to the nation through the restoration of freedom and democracy under the leadership of Khaleda Zia and Tarique Zia,” he said. The BNP leader also urged the leaders and activists of the party and people of the country to be prepared for this. The biennial conference of Nilphamari district unit BNP was held on Monday after seven years. A 151-member committee will be formed after the conference. Some 303 members of Syedpur Upazila, municipality and Kishoreganj upazila committee will exercise their franchise for election of president, general secretary and organizing secretary. Prof. Abdul Gafur Sarkar and assistant prof Shwakat Hayat Shah are vying for the post of district unit BNP President. END/UNB/Corr/MAS/ssk
BNP and like-minded parties to hold rallies in all cities Saturday
As part of the ongoing simultaneous movement, the main opposition BNP, its associate bodies and like-minded parties who prioritise restoration of the country's democracy through a return to fair elections are set to hold rallies in cities across all divisions on Saturday to press home their 10-point demand, including holding the next general election under a non-party caretaker government. The programme is also meant for registering the opposition parties’ protest against the rise in the prices of power, gas and essential items, and mounting pressure on the government to release BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia without any condition, essentially to drop the 'false' cases against her. This will be the 10th programme of the simultaneous movement that started coalescing in December, towards the end of a very successful divisional rally programme of the BNP that attracted massive crowds in all ten locations it visited. Tomorrow's programme was announced from the human chain programme observed in all district towns and 13 organisational divisional cities, including Dhaka on March 11. As part of the programme, BNP’s Dhaka south and north city units will arrange a rally in front of the party’s Nayapaltan central office in the afternoon. Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, the party secretary general, will address the rally as the chief guest. Besides, all other metropolitan city units of BNP will also arrange a similar programme to be attended by party senior leaders, including standing committee members. Apart from BNP, Ganotantra Mancha, Jatiyatabadi Samamona Jote, Gonoforum and People’s Party, Jatiyatabadi Samamona Jote, Peshajibi Ganatantrik Jote, 12-party alliance, Bam Ganatantrik Oikya and LDP will also hold separate rallies from 11-12 pm in different areas of the capital. In December last year, BNP and like-minded parties and alliances started a simultaneous movement based on their common objective of ousting the present government and holding the next election under a non-party neutral government. So far, they have arranged rallies, human chains, sit-ins and road march programmes in all unions, districts and divisional cities across the country to press home their 10-point demand. Besides, the leaders and activists of BNP’s Dhaka north and south city units observed the road march programme in five areas in the capital since January 28.
We'll soon win in anti-govt movement: Fakhrul
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Friday said they will become victorious soon together with people in their ongoing anti-government movement for the restoration of people’s voting and other rights. “We’ve initiated the movement not to come to power as our goal is to turn Bangladesh into a truly modern welfare state so that people can get back their all rights. We also launched the movement to ensure justice, equality, and remove equality,” he said. Speaking at a discussion, the BNP leader also said they made good progress in their current movement. “The language we see in the eyes of ordinary people and their strong desire and determination give us inspiration and courage to move forward every day. I believe very soon we will win this struggle with the people of Bangladesh." Also Read: AL destroys electoral system by “so-called” SCBA polls, says BNP demanding fresh vote 'Arpan Bangladesh', a voluntary organisation, arranged programme at Dhaka Reporters’ Unity (DRU) in memory of the opposition leaders and activists who were killed recently in the ongoing movement for the restoration of democracy and demanding the unconditional release of the BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia. The voluntary organisation also provided the family members of slain opposition leaders and activists with gifts ahead of Ramadan. Fakhrul said he joins the progarmmes for the family members of the victims of enforced disappearance and killing with a very heavy heart. “I have been attending such events for the last 15 years. “When I come to such programmes I feel sad and they (victims' families) also feel the same. But so far we have not been able to do much for them.” Pointing at the victims’ family members, he said, “You have lost husbands, fathers, sons, and brothers. The history of human civilization says that such supreme sacrifice will never go in vain. Their blood and the tears of their mothers can never go in vain.” Also Read: BNP delegation attends dinner hosted by Indian envoy Fakhrul said they liberated the country by waging a war against the Pakistani occupation forces as they snatched the rights of people, destroyed democracy, and denied handing over power to an elected government. “We also fought to get a democratic Bangladesh. “We won that battle. Unfortunately, we are again fighting and giving our lives to get that democracy back.” He said freedom fighters never imagined a Bangladesh where there is no human dignity, security of life, freedom of expression, voting rights, and justice. Fakhrul said the lawyers who were subjected to attacks went to the Chief Justice on Thursday seeking his initiative to resolve the problem that emerged over the Supreme Court Bar Association. "He (Chief Justices) told them he would do if he has any option to do anything. Then, where will we go, to whom will we go, and where will the people of the country go?
AL destroys electoral system by “so-called” SCBA polls, says BNP demanding fresh vote
The BNP on Friday alleged that Awami League has put the last nail in the coffin of the electoral system of the country by holding a lopsided election of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) using police and outsiders. The party also demanded a fresh election to Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) cancelling the results of the “so-called” violece-marred polls for the sake of the sanctity of the apex court of the country. “Awami League has turn into such a bankrupt party politically that it has to use police and outsiders to announce its candidates as winners in the Supreme Court Bar Association elections. It’s a matter of great shame,” said BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir. Under the circumstances, Fakhrul said their party wants the Chief Justice to come forward and take necessary measures to protect the sanctity of the Supreme Court, the highest institution of the judiciary. Also Read: BNP delegation attends dinner hosted by Indian envoy A day after the announcement of SCBA polls results, he made the demand at a press conference at BNP’s Nayapaltan Central office. Even though there was no election legally, Fakhrul alleged that the candidates of the ruling party were declared elected “illegally” and “unilaterally” by arranging a drama in the name of polls. “I demand holding a fresh election to the Supreme Court Bar Association, immediately annulling the so-called polls Also Read: BNP works out 10-day Independence Day programme Bangabandhu Awami Ainjibi Parishad, the panel of pro-Awami League lawyers, won all the 14 posts of the executive committee of the SCBA polls held on Wednesday and Thursday. Voting took place on Wednesday and Thursday amid the ruckus, violence, clashes, police action, and the allegations of ballot theft and tearing. Fakhrul said their party thinks the SCBA polls have exposed once again that Awami League is a master at vote rigging. “The lawyers of the Supreme Court are called officers of the court. Awami League has destroyed the elections of those lawyers' association by using the police force in a medieval style,” he observed. The BNP leader alleged that Awami League wants to establish a one-party Baksal rule in the country by completely regulating the Judiciary. “They want to establish their control on all bar associations by force. We’re uttering these words with anger and sadness today." He said it is the sacred duty of those who are in charge of different state institutions to protect the country and the sanctity of the institutions they are leading. “We can’t imagine that police can enter the Supreme Court and attack the lawyers, beat them, and injure them. This is not a trivial matter and we can’t take it lightly. These incidents are exposing the nature of the country and proving that it has become a failed state,” Fakhrul said He called upon all concerned to come forward to protect the country and its institutions. "We have been saying repeatedly that Bangladesh is no longer a democratic state as the Awami League government is destroying all the democratic institutions in the country in a planned way.” Replying to a question, the BNP leader said Awami League will definitely rig votes if the next national election is held under it. “No credible election is possible under the Awami League government," he said adding "It has become their character that they will take everything by force. If they stay in power, they will take control over the election and declare their candidates as winners.”
Filing cases, arresting BNP people a weapon to suppress opposition: Fakhrul
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Wednesday alleged that filing cases against opposition leaders and activists and arresting them are the biggest weapons of the Awami League government to suppress its political opponents. Speaking at a rally, he also warned that people’s legitimate movement can never be suppressed by using any weapon. “The Awami League government very successfully used the state machinery, including police, Rab and other forces, to terrify people. Their biggest weapons are filing cases and arresting BNP leaders and activists to subdue its opponents,” the BNP leader said. He alleged that the government picks up the dissidents using law enforcers and puts them in jail to thwart a democratic movement. Jatiyatabadi Jubo Dal arranged the rally in front of BNP’s Nayapaltan central office demanding the immediate release of its general secretary Abdul Monayem Munna and its Dhaka North City unit former president SM Jahangir Hossain, who were arrested from the city’s Malibagh area last week. Fakhrul said many BNP leaders and activists were made disappeared, tortured, maimed and killed while 35 lakh others were made accused in different ‘false’ cases. “But the government could not subdue BNP and foil its movement. I would like to ask Awami League to take a lesson that people’s justified movement can’t be blocked by using any weapon. No one also could do it in the past.” He recalled that no powerful rulers, including Hitler, Mussolini and Ayub Khan, could stay in power against the will of the people. “We repeatedly told the government that they could not realise the eye-langue of people and the wall writings. Please, try to understand it.” He said people are struggling to cope with the unusual price hikes in power, gas and daily essentials. “We don’t know what happen in the future as Ramada is forthcoming.” Amid such a situation, the BNP leader alleged that the government is importing electricity from India's Adani Group at almost double the price. “When the country’s people and we’re strongly demanding cancellation of the deal, they imported 50mw power from the company. How much audacity and mockery it is! They have done it ignoring people as they have given an undertaking (to Adani).” He said the current government has destroyed all the achievements of the country and its people. He also alleged that the ruling party leaders and activists are indulging in widespread corruption in the name of mega projects. “When 42% of people are living below the poverty line and when people can’t afford rice, oil, other commodities and tuition fees of their children, the government is destroying the country by taking such mega projects and indulging in massive corruption. “ Fakhrul alleged that most of the banks have got depleted through the plundering by the ruling party. He called upon the BNP leaders and activists to be more organised to oust the current government by intensifying their ongoing movement.