BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia today alleged that around 300 leaders and activists of the BNP-led 19-party alliance fell victim to murders and forced disappearance in a month from December 26 by whom she identified as joint forces and Awami League cadres.
The former premier made the allegation at Hotel Westin this afternoon while giving an account of "torture and repression" on the 19-party alliance men.
Addressing the crowded press conference this afternoon, she said 242 leaders and activists of the alliance were killed while 60 others disappeared.
It is Khaleda's second press meet since January 5 parliamentary polls, which was boycotted by the then BNP-led 18-party alliance as it was not held under a non-party caretaker government.
On January 15, the 19-party combine leader held a press conference on the latest political situation after the 10th parliamentary election.
Asked about the ruling party call for severing ties with Jamaat-e-Islam, a key component in the 19-party alliance, Khaleda said, “We will decide ourselves. Who are they to dictate us?”
She confidently said that their decision to boycott the January 5 parliament election was right. “We did not make any mistake. Rather, the illegal government has done the fault by holding a one-sided election.”
In the question and answer session, one journalist drew her attention about their position not to participate in any election under the incumbent Election Commission and asked why many leaders and activists of the 19-party alliance are taking part in the upazila election.
In reply, Khaleda said this is local government election where any one can participate. “We had mentioned the election which changes the government.”
Again urging to initiate a dialogue to find a way out of the political stalemate, the former prime minister said, “We will not continue to call for the dialogue forever. We will wait for a certain period and then we will start our movement.”
She called for holding an immediate election under a non-party arrangement to bring the country back to the path of democracy.
Asked about a timeframe to start the movement, she said alongside giving the time to the government for taking an initiative “We are also reorganise ourselves as many of our leaders and activists were killed and others remain in jail.”
Khaleda alleged that the government has also resorted to arrest and handicapping of the 19-party alliance leaders and activists by shooting.
“The government has indulged in wholesale arrest and killing of the 19-party men.”
In support of her claim, Khaleda brought references from different reports of the local and international human rights groups and media houses on the killings and disappearances of the 19-party combine leaders and activists.
Khaleda also called for independent inquiry in to the killings and demanded withdrawal of false cases against the 19-party men.
She drew attention of all intentional organisations including the United Nations to take initiatives to stop the killings in Bangladesh.
“The path of extremism is being expanded by resorting to the repression and killings of the people.”