People’s love more important than awards: BNP to PM

Rajshahi, Sept 29 (UNB) – BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Sunday suggested Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to try to have the affection of people instead of receiving awards abroad after ‘snatching’ people’s rights.

Speaking at a rally here, he also said the recent drive against casinos has exposed how the government plundered public money.

“People are the owners of the country. There’s no point of receiving awards abroad by fooling people and snatching their rights. Try to get the love of people and it’ll be useful for you,” the BNP leader said pointing at the Prime Minister.

Sheikh Hasina received two prestigious international awards –‘Champion of the Skills Development for Youths’ Award in recognition of her outstanding contributions to skill development of the youth, and ‘Vaccine Hero’ award in recognition of Bangladesh’s outstanding success in vaccination to immunise children – during her visit to New York to attend the attend the UN’s 74th General Assembly session.

BNP arranged the rally at Pathanpara Crossing in the city demanding the release of BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia.

Fakhrul alleged that the ruling party leaders siphoned off Tk 27, 000 crore abroad in the last one year. “The people of the country now want Khaleda Zia to be freed. Your (govt’s) all secrets have got exposed (through the recent drive), and you won’t be able to stay in power anymore.”

He came down hard on Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud for what he said ‘inventing’ information that BNP acting chairman Tarique Rahman used to get money from casinos. “You can’t confuse people with such comments as your (govt’s) misdeeds have got uncovered.”

The BNP leader said the government also committed a grave offence by ‘snatching’ people’s voting rights at the dead of night on December 29 last year.

He urged the government to dissolve the current parliament and hold a fresh election under a neutral administration and the Election Commission to install a pro-people and representative government. Or else, the BNP leader warned that people will ensure the fall of the government through a united movement, he said.

“You can’t suppress the movement of people as you’ve been in power rigging votes,” he added.

Mentioning that democracy will be restored only when Khaleda Zia is released, he called upon people irrespective of their party and opinion to get united to wage a strong movement against the government.

Fakhrul said the current government has established a one-party rule by ‘annihilating’ democracy and ‘snatching’ people’s all the democratic rights.

He alleged that the government has imposed an ‘unofficial curfew’ in Rajshahi city to obstruct people from joining BNP’s rally.

The BNP leader claimed that their party’s many leaders and activists were arrested over the last few days centring the rally. “The communications between Rajshahi and other parts of the country remained stopped since morning. It seems a curfew has been imposed here. The entire city looks empty, and no shop is opened and vehicle movement remained suspended. Even, motorcycles are not allowed to ply.”

BNP standing committee member Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain said the local administration and law enforcers blocked BNP leaders and activists at different points of the city in an effort to thwart the rally. “You’re (law enforcers) harming yourselves by indulging in such acts. You’re friends of people and stand by them.”

Another BNP standing committee member Gayeshwar Chandra Roy said there is no use of holding rallies or making any demand to the government for the release of Khaleda Zia. “We must take to the streets and give a counter-reply if we’re obstructed.”

He also said Khaleda Zia will not be freed unless the current government quits. “So, let’s free Khaleda Zia by ousting the current regime.”

Chaired by BNP Rajshahi city unit president Mosaddek Hossain Bulbul, party standing committee members Mirza Abbas, Iqbal Hossain Mahmud Tuku, its leaders Mizanur Rahman Minu, Habibur Rahman Habib, and Ruhul Quddu Talukder Dulu, among others, addressed the rally.

Bus services on the Natore-Rajshahi route remained halted since Sunday morning, causing immense sufferings to thousands of commuters.

BNP leader Mosaddek Hossain Bulbul claimed that transport workers enforced a strike ahead of the party’s rally, an allegation turned down by transport workers, saying bus services were disrupted due to rain.

Kamal Hossain Robi, a former president of the union, insisted that the services were halted as the number of passengers was low because of rain.

He said buses were running on the Rajshahi-Dhaka route.