Different opposition political parties on Thursday condemned the Dhaka Metropolitan Police’s instruction not to bring out any processions, hold rallies and use public address systems in Dhaka without its prior permission.
The allies of the ruling Awami League, however, said that the restrictions should be applied on the rallies that go against the state but it should not restrict democratic political activities.
The opposition political parties alleged that the metropolitan police’s decision went against democratic norms and people’s right to gather and express their opinions and that the government had let the police announce the decision to save them from public wrath and mass movements.
They urged the government to shun the path of undemocratic and fascist rule and to withdraw the restriction immediately.
The political parties made the allegations after Dhaka Metropolitan Police’s Wednesday statement banning processions, rallies and using public address systems without prior permission on the grounds of public safety while DMP also warned of legal actions for violation of the instruction.
‘The government’s decision is against the people’s constitutional and basic rights and an ominous sign for democracy and politics,’ opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said in a statement.
‘The government, in the name of prior permission, would be controlling politics on the pretext of tackling various situations after snatching people’s rights as well as narrowing down the options for all to take the normal path of politics,’ he alleged and demanded the immediate withdrawal of the DMP instruction.
Dubbing the move ‘anti-people’, Mirza Fakhrul added that the government was desperately trying to save themselves from people’s wrath and mass movements.
Ganosamhati Andolan chief coordinator Zonayed Saki also condemned the decision and added that even amid the coronavirus crisis the government is out to snatch people’s democratic rights.
‘DMP’s direction is against the constitution and totally undemocratic. It is just another ploy to kill democracy,’ said Nagarik Oikya convener Mahmudur Rahman Manna and demanded that the decision be withdrawn.
‘The direction literally proves that the Awami League government has turned Bangladesh into a police state. The DMP instruction is plain unjust,’ said Bangladesh Juba Odhikar Parishad in a statement signed by its member secretary Faridul Huq.
Condemning the DMP directive, Socialist Party of Bangladesh general secretary Khalequzzaman said that the government had snatched people’s freedom of speech by introducing Digital Security Act and is now trying to perpetuate the totalitarian rule by snatching another constitutional right by imposing a ban on rallies and processions.
‘Awami League is now implementing BAKSAL in a different way,’ he said, and urged to launch a united movement against the misrule of the government.
Jatiya Oikya Front leader and Gonoshasthya Kendra founder Zafrullah Chowdhury urged the authorities to review the DMP direction and said that it is common knowledge that the metropolitan police generally does not give permission when permission for such rallies is sought.
AL-led alliance partner Workers Party of Bangladesh general secretary Fazle Hossain Badsha said that organising rallies and bringing out processions were the democratic rights of the people and the DMP restrictions should not be applied to any democratic parties.
‘But it should be applied for the rallies that goes against the state and challenge the country’s constitution,’ he added.
Echoing the same opinion, another AL-led alliance partner Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal-Jasod general secretary Shirin Akhter said, ‘The restriction should be imposed on conspirators against the state, not on the democratic forces.’
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