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Country turns into police state: Fakhrul

Edit Date:7/13/2011 12:00:00 AM

The Bangladesh Nationalist Party on Friday announced countrywide demonstrations for today and a ‘mass hunger strike’ in the capital for Wednesday in protest against police assault on the opposition chief whip and ‘harassment’ on other opposition activists during the 48-hour general strike.

The main opposition, BNP, which enforced a 48-hour general strike on July 6-7, also extended its support to the 30-hour hartal called by 12 religion-based political parties that begins Sunday morning.

Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, a major ally of BNP, has also extended support to the 30-hour hartal.   Twelve Islamist parties have called the strike in protest against the 15th amendment that scrapped the caretaker government provision and ‘hurt religious sentiment’ of majority Muslims by removing the phrase ‘absolute faith and trust in the Almighty Allah’ from the constitution. 

‘As the demands for which the 12 parties have called the strike are almost similar to those of ours, we are extending all-out support to the strike,’ acting BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir told a post-hartal media briefing at the party’s Naya Paltan central office.     

Announcing the ‘mass hunger strike’ to be staged on the premises of the Engineers’ Institution in Dhaka on Wednesday, Mirza Fakhrul hoped all democratic forces as well democratically-oriented people would join the protest.

He said the people had said ‘no’ to the 15th Amendment by ‘spontaneously’ observing the 48-hour hartal. ‘People want the caretaker government provision to be restored.’

Terming ‘audacious’ and ‘dangerous’ a statement of the police official who had allegedly led the assault on the opposition chief whip, Zainul Abdin Farroque, the acting BNP secretary general said, ‘The police officer who got admitted to the hospital pretending to have been injured, made an audacious statement that the police were given batons to use it when they needed to.’

‘It seems the police are more powerful than the people’s representatives in the Awami League-style democracy,’ he said.  He accused the government of turning Bangladesh into a policy state. ‘The statements of the prime minister and other government high-ups about the incident prove that the government approved the police assault on the opposition chief whip,’ he said.  

When his comments were sought about the statement of Awami League general secretary Syed Ashraful Islam that the ruling party was ready to sit with the opposition even if it was arranged in Makkah, Fakhrul said, ‘It is time for him to go to Makkah.’  

BNP standing committee member MK Anwar, vice-chairmen Abdullah Al Noman and Altaf Hossain Chowdhury, joint secretaries general Amanullah Aman and Rizvi Ahmed attended the media briefing. BNP’s allies Jamaat also announced demonstrations for today in protest against police ‘torture’ on its activists during hartal hours.

Jamaat secretary general ATM Azharul Islam at a press conference at the party’s Moghbazar central office announced the programme. 


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