The Bangladesh Nationalist Party on Thursday formed human chains across the country to press for immediate release of party chairperson Khaleda Zia, alleging that the court was used to convict her as part of political vendetta and in order to remain in power by force.
Addressing the human chains on the last day of the two-day demonstration announced by the party, its leaders alleged that the government came to power illegally and was oppressing the people, especially those in the opposition.
The leaders alleged that the government wanted to establish a one-party rule in the country against which Khaleda fought throughout her political career.
They demanded immediate release of the elderly and ailing Khaleda for her better treatment at a facility of her choice.
The party announced a 13-day fresh agitation in the second half of September for freeing Khaleda so that ‘democracy could be re-established’ in the country.
Khaleda has been in jail since February 8, 2018, the day a special court in Dhaka sentenced her in a graft case which BNP terms false and fabricated.
She has been undergoing treatment at the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University hospital since April 1, 2019.
Reports received from the cities of Sylhet, Rajshahi, Khulna, Mymensingh, Barishal, Gazipur, Narayanganj and Rangpur and the district towns of Jashore, Satkhira, Munshiganj, Bagerhat, Bogura, Manikganj, Jhenaidah and Habiganj said that the human chains-cum-rallies there were peaceful.
In Dhaka, BNP secretary-general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir protested against prime minister Sheikh Hasina’s remark in the Jatiya Sangsad on Wednesday that the Awami League did not believe in the politics of vengeance and claimed that the government was working in a planned way to ‘eliminate’ its political opponents.
Fakhrul was addressing a press briefing after chairing a joint-meeting with all the BNP front organisations at the party central office at Naya Paltan in the capital.
‘I think there’s hardly any party in the world like the BNP which has had to endure so much suffering for establishing democracy. Our more than 26 lakh leaders and activists have been made accused in around one lakh cases while over 500 others disappeared and several hundred were killed,’ he said.
He alleged that the lower courts now could not take any decision independently without the instruction of the Law Ministry.
The BNP leader, referring to the arrest of Jatiyatabadi Mohila Dal’s Dhaka south unit president Razia Sultana by the police and sending her to jail in a case lodged under the Explosive Substances Act, said that the arrests of opposition leaders were still going on.
He repeated the demand for scrapping the December 30, 2018 national elections and holding a fresh election under a neutral election commission and government.
Fakhrul then announced the 13-day agitation between September 15 and September 28 that was chalked out in the joint meeting to press home their demand for Khaleda’s release.
According to the programme schedule, the Jatiyatabadi Matshajibi Dal will form a human chain on September 15, the Jatiyatabadi Muktijoddha Dal on September 16, the Tanti Dal on September 17, the Association of Engineers, Bangladesh on September 18, the Doctors Association of Bangladesh on September 19, the Jubo Dal on September 20, the Ulema Dal on September 21, the Mohila Dal on September 22, the Krishak Dal on September 24, the Sramik Dal on September 25, the Agriculturist Association of Bangladesh on September 27 and the Swechchhasebak Dal on September 28.
On Wednesday, the BNP formed a human chain in front of the National Press Club demanding Khaleda’s release and proper treatment.
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