BNP stages walkout protesting ban on meetings

Hours after joining parliament, the BNP-led opposition MPs on Monday walked out of the House in protest against the ban on public rallies and meetings.The opposition lawmakers staged the walkout at 8pm, led by senior BNP leader Moudud Ahmed, in absence of opposition leader Khaleda Zia as she did not return to the House after the interval for Magrib prayers.

Before leaving the House, Moudud Ahmed, standing on a point of order, slammed Home Minister Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir for imposing a restriction on public rallies and meetings only by a verbal order.

“Today we’ve decided to walk out of the sitting protesting the Home Minister’s announcement,” Moudud said.

He said the Home Minister’s announcement about the ban in Mirsarai, Chittagong on May 19 has stunned them. “It’s an immoral, illegal and unconstitutional announcement. We strongly protest and condemn it.”

Moudud said they do not think there is democracy in the country as the country’s biggest political party BNP is not allowed to stage its political programmes through the ban imposed by the Home Minister.

He alleged that the home minister has set a negative example in the country by snatching people’s right by only a verbal order.

Moudud demanded the Home Minister say sorry in the House for imposing the illegal ban and withdraw it. “We’ve decided if the home minister does it we’ll play our role in making parliament effective.

While leaving parliament, Moudud told journalists they would return to the House tomorrow (Tuesday) though staged the walkout today (Monday).

Senior Treasury bench members Tofail Ahmed and Syed Ali Ashraf sharply criticised the opposition for the walkout and said it is condemnable and unprecedented incident.

“I’m surprised. There’s no incident that took place in the House that might lead to such a walkout,” Tofail said standing on point of order soon after the opposition left the House.

He said it is now clear to the people of Bangladesh that they returned to the House just to save their memberships and protect their allowances.

“I don’t know whether we’ll find them in House again. BNP shouldn’t have walked out in such a manner,” Tofail said urging the opposition to return to the House.

Syed Ali Ashraf said, “It’s condemnable and unprecedented in Bangladesh history. We strongly denounce it.”

Both the Treasury bench members also expressed dissatisfaction as Moudud Ahmed did not give scope to Home Minister to clarify his stance. (Source: UNB)

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