Bangladesh Nationalist Party on Wednesday accused the government of doing politics over distribution of relief to the Rohingya people, who entered into Bangladesh in the last two weeks fleeing persecution in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.
At a discussion in the city’s Institute of Engineers, Bangladesh, BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir alleged that the government was barring the party activists from carrying out relief activities for Rohingya refugees.
He said that a high-powered BNP relief team, headed by its standing committee member Mirza Abbas, was heading for Ukhia refugee camps with 20 truckloads of relief goods on Wednesday, but the police barred them and later kept them confined in BNP’s Cox’s Bazar office.
Fakhrul condemned ‘such acts of the government’ and said, ‘We express disgust that you [Awami League] are doing politics over distribution of relief to the starving Rohingya people.’
Halfway through the meeting, Fakhrul, who was presiding over it, received a phone call from a BNP leader in Cox’s Bazar and subsequently informed reporters that the police were obstructing their relief team.
Fakhrul described prime minister Sheikh Hasina’s Tuesday visit to Cox’s Bazar as ‘just an eyewash’ and questioned if the government was genuinely with the persecuted Rohingyas.
BNP standing committee member Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain said that Awami League had earlier blamed BNP of doing politics over the Rohingya crisis. ‘But the fact is that it is Awami League who is doing politics over the issue and that is why the BNP relief team was barred,’ he said.
He remarked that the government had failed in its diplomatic efforts to bring China and India on Bangladesh’s side over the crisis.
BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi commented that the government’s repressive policy became evident when it barred BNP relief team.
He alleged that the government wanted to handover relief goods to the deputy commissioner so that those could be distributed among the activists of Awami League.
BNP organised the discussion to mark the 10th anniversary of BNP senior vice-chairman Tarique Rahman’s release from prison. Tarique was arrested in March 2007 during the rule of military-backed caretaker government and has been staying in London since his release in parole in 2008.
Fakhrul claimed that Tarique was a victim of a deep conspiracy hatched by local and international players. ‘The conspirators unleashed a concerted campaign to tarnish his image, but nothing has been proven in court,’ he said.
Rizvi alleged that the government was forcing media from publishing any news story quoting Tarique.
The BNP leaders called on the government to refrain from creating ‘anarchy’ centring the general election and urged the ruling party to accept the BNP’s idea of election-conducive government for a free, fair and participatory election.
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