PM urges BNP, Hefazat to postpone programmes

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Friday urged the opposition BNP and Hefazat-e-Islam to postpone their planned protests in Dhaka scheduled for March 4 and 5 respectively taking into consideration the ongoing rescue operations for the Savar victims. “It is their democratic rights to hold peaceful rallies anytime anywhere in Bangladesh. However, I request both BNP and Hefazat leaders to suspend their programmes temporarily for the sake of the relief and rescue operations of the Savar victims,” she told a news conference at Ganabhaban.
The prime minister thanked the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party for withdrawal of its nationwide shutdown programme in view of Savar tragedy and held out her hope that BNP and Hefazat-e-Islam would also consider postponing their rallies in the capital on March 4 and 5.
Sheikh Hasina made a passionate plea to all concerned to stand by the helpless victims of Savar tragedy and make sure that no obstacle is put in the way of providing medical care to hundreds of survivors and doing the religious rituals for those who perished in the worst ever building collapse.
Referring to the Chittagong-based Hefazat-e-Islam’s demands, Sheikh Hasina said: “We have already examined those demands. Of them, many have already been implementedand few are under the process of being implemented. We can surely do something about those demands through negotiations.”
On her recent offer for talks with the opposition BNP, the prime minister said the formal letter of invitation would be sent to the opposition leader very soon. However, she noted with regret that the opposition has already attached conditions with her proposal for a dialogue with it.
The prime minister once again brushed aside BNP’s principal demand for a non-party and neutral caretaker government for overseeing the next general elections. She, however, expressed her readiness to accept an interim government set up with the representatives of different political parties.
“I am not at all rigid. I am a very flexible and accommodative person on political matters at the negotiating table. However, I never compromise on the question of principle,” Sheikh Hasina said.
She reaffirmed her government’s already stated-position that the continuity of the democratic process must be maintained in the country at any cost. In this connection, she pointed out that without a democratic government and culture there would be no accountability whatsoever in the country.
“We do not want to go back to those days of 2007. We must take lessons from our own history. We have struggled hard and long for constitutional process in the country. We cannot let any unconstitutional quarter to take over power again in Bangladesh,” the prime minister said.
Sheikh Hasina cautioned that irresponsible speeches and activities might do serious harm to democracy as well as the nation and urged the people, especially the religious leaders (Olama-Mashayekh) to guard against any type of extremist and terrorist activities in the country.
She appealed to the Hefazat-e-Islam to work together for the development of the country in the greater interest of the nation following the path of the peaceful religion of Islam. The prime minister agreed with many grievances put forward by Hefazat, reading out a written statement at the news conference.
Agencies add: The Prime Minister said the very existing law of the country provides punishment to the persons responsible for defaming Islam. The Special Power Act, Penal Code and ICT Act have clear provisions in this regard, she said.
“If anybody thinks that the punishment is not strong enough for the offences, then we can discuss on more stringent provisions,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said four bloggers have been arrested on charges of defaming the Prophet (SM) and a high-powered committee is working for identifying others.
“None has the right to spread canards about Islam and the Prophet,” she said adding that action would be taken according to the recommendations of the committee.
About the demand of Hefajat-e-Islami on stopping indiscriminate killing of innocent Alems, Olemas, Madrasa students, the Prime Minister said no such incident occurred in the country.
Law enforcing agencies have taken action against some leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami and Islami Chhatra Shibir on charges of their war crimes and subversive activities, she said.
A section of people is misusing Islam and trying to create fanaticism in the country. Jamaat and Shibir and their accomplices are taking the lead, Sheikh Hasina said and added that the law enforcing agencies have taken action against them to protect public lives and properties.
“However, if we get any list from Hefajat-e-Islami about their detained leaders, the government would give highest consideration for their release,” she assured.
The prime minister urged the Hefajat leaders to look into the matter of holiness of the mosques saying some people are attacking the Khatibs of the mosques and using the places of worship for political purposes, which is not acceptable.
She elaborated various steps taken by the government for launching the rescue operation soon after the building collapse in Savar on April 24, including treatment of the injured persons and emergency service for the victims.
The Prime Minister said, “We have moved army for rescue operation immediately after hearing of the tragic incident. Local people, police, fire service and disaster management volunteers also rushed to the spot.”
On an emergency basis, she said, the government asked the concerned authorities to keep ready 300 beds in local hospitals, clinics and CMH. “We were able to rescue most of the trapped persons alive due to the quick response,” she said.
The Prime Minister expressed deep shock at the death of more than 500 people in the incident saying the rescue operation was really a difficult task. “We, however, retrieved as many as 2,740 garment workers alive from beneath the debris,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the rescue work has been carried out very carefully as the trapped persons were scattered in different air pockets under the rubbles. The bodies of the identified persons were handed over to their relatives while DNA of the unidentified ones was preserved, she added.
The Prime Minister also gave a brief account about her government’s plan for rehabilitation of the injured persons, compensation to the families of the victims and treatment of the injured persons.
The workers, she said, were forced to join their works by the garments owners’ despite the building was declared abandoned by industrial police a day before. The responsible persons, the Prime Minister said, in this connection have already been arrested.
The Prime Minister said her government after taking office in 2009, has procured many equipment for disaster management. Around 18,000 volunteers were trained for engagement in rescue operations after an earthquake, she said adding Savar served as an   experience for disaster management personnel.
Hasina said she would not urge both the parties to stop their programmes because those are their political programmes. “But, rescue operation is still going on and there is a need (for all concerned) to go to the Savar site every now and then.”
She also requested the leaders of both Hefazat and the opposition to distribute the amount that were supposed to be spent on Dhaka Siege and rally among the victims and injured of that tragic incident.
The Prime Minister said that the rescue operation at Savar after the tragic incident is still going on and programmes like Dhaka Siege and rally might hamper the ongoing rescue operation and its related activities.
“If they suspend their Dhaka Siege and rally now, we’ll be able to assist the injured and affected of that incident in a bigger way,” Hasina added.

-With The Independent input

Related News

Bangladesh hikes power price again in just 3 weeks

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The government has increased the retail power price again — by 5 per cent — along with an increase in the bulk price by over 8 per cent just 18 days after it had hiked the retail price on January 12 this year. The new retail prices and charges, announced for ... Read more

Achol Foundation reported 585 student suicides in 2022

News Desk : dhakamirror.com A survey by the Achol Foundation found that 585 students from schools, colleges, universities, and madrasas died by suicide in 2016. Among them, 340 were in school, 106 were in college, 85 were in university, and 54 were in a madrasa. The foundation revealed the information through a press release sent ... Read more

Mother, kid reunited by cop’s brave act

News Desk : dhakamirror.com A mother sold her two-month-old infant for Tk 30,000 to pay off debts. A police team reunited the mother and kid yesterday, three days after the terrible tragedy. The mother, Lima Hanufa, said her husband hasn’t worked in five years since a road accident incapacitated him. Lima, her family’s sole breadwinner, ... Read more

Taslima Nasreen claims she became a big victim of medical crime

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Exiled Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasrin has accused a hospital in India of committing a “medical crime” by providing wrong treatment to her after she reportedly broke a bone in her leg. She claimed that doctors at the hospital conducted a total hip replacement surgery on her even though the X-ray report ... Read more

Boy found in the cargo container calls himself Fahim

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The boy found in a cargo container in Port Klang of Malaysia on January 17 calls himself Fahim and he could be Bangladeshi or Rohingya. A video clip of the boy, aged between 11 and 15, being rescued from the empty container went viral and in several clips the boy calls ... Read more

Sreemangal became cool at 5.6 degrees Celsius

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Sreemangal of Moulvibazar ha the lowest temperature of the season at 5.6 degrees Celsius in the 24 hours preceding friday morning. Mujibur Rahman, a Srimangal weather monitoring station officer, told UNB that the lowest temperature at Sreemangal was 2.8 degrees Celsius on February 4, 1968. Sreemangal is struggling with severe cold, ... Read more

Liver transplant: Sister saves brother

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Bogura resident 53-year-old Monetzar Rahman received a liver transplant from Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) physicians. At a press conference yesterday, BSMMU officials stated Montezar’s sister Shamima Akter, 43, gave 60% of her liver to save her brother. The Prime Minister’s Relief and Welfare Fund paid for surgery. BSMMU surgeons ... Read more

Biswa Ijtema first phase concludes with peace prayers

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The first phase of the Biswa Ijtema concluded today with the Akheri Munajat (final prayers), seeking peace on earth and prosperity for the Muslim Ummah. Thousands of devotees of all ages gathered at the Ijtema ground on the Turag banks and on the roads adjacent to the Ijtema venue during the ... Read more

Women use mobile phones more than men

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The latest survey from the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) shows that more women than men in the country have access to mobile phones. The proportion of mobile phone use of the male and female in the last 3-month is 89.9 percent and 90 percent respectively, said the report. The BBS ... Read more

What does a ride on the metro cost?

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The Uttara-Agargaon section of the country’s first metro rail will be inaugurated tomorrow. Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority (DTCA), the government agency responsible for fixing metro rail fare, has published the full list of metro rail fares. The minimum fare was fixed at Tk 20 and the maximum fare for travelling from ... Read more

DGHS advises taking booster and using mask amid rising COVID-19 cases

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Health officials told people today to be careful, such as by getting booster shots and wearing masks in crowded places. This comes after a warning from the National Advisory Committee about a possible new variant that has already spread through China and been found in India. Because of a highly contagious ... Read more

Met Office warns of fog

News Desk : dhakamirror.com A light to thick blanket of fog is likely to envelope large parts of Bangladesh for up to 12 hours from midnight. Moderate to thick fog may occur over the river basins and northern part of the country and light to moderate fog elsewhere over the country from midnight to morning, ... Read more

Bangladesh celebrates Victory Day

Nahid Riyasad The nation celebrates 52nd Victory Day on Friday commemorating the freedom fighters whose supreme sacrifice freed the country from Pakistani occupation force in 1971. Thousands of people from all walks of life started gathering at the National Memorial in Savar to pay tribute to the 1971 martyrs from the morning after the president ... Read more

Bangladesh’s Saleemul Huq among Nature’s top 10 scientists

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The scholarly publication Nature has presented a selection of ten individuals who were instrumental in shaping the most significant scientific stories in 2022. Saleemul Huq, a Bangladeshi scientist, has made it onto the list for his work to get wealthier nations to pay for the losses and damages caused by climate ... Read more

Martyred Intellectuals Day: People paying homage to martyred intellectuals

News Desk : dhakamirror.com People from all walks of life have been paying tributes to the martyred intellectuals by placing wreaths at the Martyred Intellectuals Memorial in Rayerbazar this morning, marking the Martyred Intellectuals Day. Most of the people, including teachers and students from different educational institutions, were wearing black clothes, a symbol of mourning. ... Read more

Stakeholders can deal with Evaly on own accord

News Desk : dhakamirror.com HC says in full text of order The High Court in the full text of an order has cleared the way for banks and other stakeholders to deal with beleaguered e-commerce platform Evaly on their own accord. “Since this court has never passed any order to halt the activities of Evaly, ... Read more

Argentina plans embassy in Bangladesh

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Argentina wants to open a diplomatic mission in Bangladesh. South Atlantic News Agency Merco Press says that the decision may have been helped by the fact that Bangladesh cheered for Lionel Messi’s team at the World Cup in Qatar. Bangladesh has always had a lot of die-hard Argentina fans, but during ... Read more

BBC’s 100 Women list includes Bangladeshi student

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The BBC placed Bangladeshi student Sanjida Islam Choya on its list of the world’s 100 most influential women for 2022 because of her work to stop child marriage. The BBC says that Sanjida has stopped at least 50 child marriages in Bangladesh. When she was in school, she saw a presentation ... Read more

HSC enrollment starts Dec 8, classes start Feb 1

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Enrollment for the following academic year’s Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) courses will open on December 8 using an online registration system. Prof. Tapan Kumar Sarker, head of the Inter-Education Board Coordination Committee, said applicants can apply through December 15. He added the admission process will be posted on education boards’ and ... Read more

Umrah e-visa requires biometric data.

Elderly pilgrims may be affected, according to HAAB. News Desk : dhakamirror.com In order to receive their Umrah e-visas, pilgrims from Bangladesh and four other countries must submit biometric data, including “fingerprints,” to the Saudi authorities. According to a report citing an announcement by the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, the other nations include ... Read more