Tuesday, May 21, 2024

‘March to continue’

BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia on Sunday said the opposition will continue its anti-government movement ‘to rescue the country’s democracy and sovereignty’.
“We will continue our March for Democracy programme tomorrow and even day after tomorrow. It will go on as long as you (the Sheikh Hasina government) hold me hostage. Let’s see what you can do,” Khaleda said after she was barred from coming out of her Gulshan residence at 3.35 pm on Sunday.
Later speaking to reporters, Khaleda accused the Prime Minister of indulging in terrorism by “killing innocent people”. She also warned the ruling Awami League of dire consequences for its “misdeeds”.
“The countrymen are witnessing the tragic consequences of what the PM and her party are doing now. They should be prepared for the consequences. The Awami League boat will not be able to reach its destination by sailing on the sea of blood of innocent people,” she warned.
Invoking divine retribution, Khaleda said, “Those who are engaged in torturing and repressing innocent people will themselves go blind by shedding tears.”
She also assailed the government restrictions on her movement. “I am still the leader of the opposition in Parliament. No one has the right to restrict my free movement. I want to take part in my March for Democracy programme, which is peaceful,” she added.
Khaleda claimed that people from all walks of life were marching towards the capital by holding the national flag. “The government has dishonoured the national flag by putting barriers on their way to Dhaka,” she said. “The Premier is behaving as if the country is her ancestral property,” she added.
Alleging that the government was illegal and undemocratic, she said the ruling Awami League was doing everything to hang on to power. “The government should resign immediately to avert the cruel consequences of its actions,” she added.
The opposition leader also alleged that the government wanted to foil the March for Democracy programme by letting loose its terrorists and police forces on the streets. “Enforce a counter programme to beat the March for Democracy programmer if you (government) have enough courage,” she said.
The BNP chief also criticised the law enforcers for “frequently firing” at common people in the name of anti-crime drives. “The law enforcers are engaged in killing and abducting people as well as ransacking the houses of the opposition party men to thwart the anti-government campaign,” she said. “How many people do you want to kill? Don’t you have mothers and sisters,” she asked.
She blamed the Prime Minister for the BDR carnage at Pilkhana in February, 2009. “The tears of the orphans and widows of the slain BDR officers will never go in vain,” she said. She also accused the government of murdering innocent people during a “violent crackdown” on a peaceful rally of the Hefajat-e-Islami at Motijheel Shapla chhattar on May 5 this year.
Khaleda said the international community was well aware of the abductions and killings of innocent people by the government in collaboration with police and Rapid Action Battalion.
“When BNP was in power, the then opposition Awami League had observed at least 174 days of hartal and killed innocent people by unleashing the Logi-Boitha (Bambo sticks-boat oars) movement. But BNP did not go for stern action at that time,” she said. “We have love and affection for the people as well as the country and we did not fire a single round of bullet on the people at that time,” she said.
Khaleda also accused the government of heading towards a lopsided national election as 154 MPs have already been elected unopposed even before the polls. “This is not called election, but selection,” she said.
Khaleda urged the police to discharge their duties in a neutral manner. “We have no enmity towards police personnel and members of the other law enforcement agencies. Don’t take the government’s side. Stay by the side of the people,” she said.
“All of you (police forces) come here and stay put in front of my residence.
That’s fine. I will continue to try and attend my party programme every day. Let’s see how long you can continue to restrain me,” the opposition leader said after stepping down from her car.
She also lashed out at the policewomen deployed to restrain her. “Hey girls, shut up. Why are you making such a noise? How long have been doing your jobs? Tell your officer to meet me. I want to talk to the officer. Do you understand,” she thundered before stepping inside her house again.
Visibly angry at the law enforcers move to bar her from going out of home, BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia snubbed some police personnel deployed there.
At one stage she told a woman security staff, who apparently hails from Gopalganj, that the name of Gopalganj will be changed in future.
“Gopalganj will not exist any longer,” she thundered.
Gopalgunj district is the ancestral home of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, and it is believed that officials from this district get special favour in different services.
Khaleda asked the security forces to maintain neutrality. “There is no use being Hasina’s sycophants. Stay with the country and the people. You are supposed to be on the street, why are you in the house?” she asked the personnel posted around her residence.

-With The Independent input

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