• Saturday, October 25, 2014

Govt out to gag media

20-party leaders also slate govt 'move to control judiciary'; Khaleda skips rally

Staff Correspondent
Supporters and activists march in processions to a 20-party rally at Suhrawardy Udyan in the capital yesterday. Photo: Star
Supporters and activists march in processions to a 20-party rally at Suhrawardy Udyan in the capital yesterday. Photo: Star

The government has moved to control the judiciary through a constitutional amendment to restore parliament's authority to impeach Supreme Court judges for misconduct or incapacity, said top leaders of the BNP-led 20-party alliance yesterday. 

They also accused the Sheikh Hasina-led government of trying to secure the “illegal regime” by formulating an “anti-people national broadcast policy”, which, they said, was aimed at influencing the media. 

“Normal course of action won't work.

We have to take a tough line to oust the illegal and unethical government. There is no alternative to waging a tougher movement by all of us irrespective of our political ideology and opinion,” BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said at a rally at Suhrawardy Udyan in the capital.

The opposition alliance organised the rally as part of a programme declared earlier to protest the National Broadcast Policy-2014.

The policy has already been approved by the cabinet and a gazette has been issued on it amid criticism by media personnel, civil society and rights groups that it creates the scope for restricting media freedom and right to information.

Although BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, who is also the chief of the opposition parties combine, was supposed to address the rally as the chief guest, she did not in the end show up.

“Questions might be raised among many of us about her absence from the rally. That is why I want to let you know that I had a conversation with her. She expressed regret that she could not attend the rally due to her illness,” Mirza Abbas, new chief of Dhaka city BNP, announced at the end of the programme without elaborating.

Party insiders said Khaleda's security officials and her motorcade were ready to take her to the rally. But around 4:00pm she decided not to attend the rally due to the hour-long torrential rain that worsened the condition of the venue ground.

Talking to The Daily Star, a number of leaders of the alliance expressed disappointment over the opposition leader's sudden decision.

Braving the rain, several thousand opposition men, many of whom belong to the Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir, however, joined the gathering, the second of its kind since January 20. 

Speaking of the government's move to restore parliament's authority to impeach judges, Fakhrul said the present parliament did not represent the people as it had been formed through a voterless election and that 154 MPs had been elected unopposed.

“That's why any decision by the present parliament to impeach judges will be considered a partisan decision by the Awami League,” he added. 

Jamaat Nayeb-e-Ameer Mujibar Rahman said the “illegal” government had moved to destroy the Islamic party by killing its leaders in the name of trying war criminals.

Describing the International Crimes Tribunal as controversial at home and abroad, he demanded that the government release all Jamaat leaders from jail.

The chiefs of the Liberal Democratic Party, Islami Oikya Jote, Bangladesh Jatiya Party, Jatiya Ganatantrik Party, among others, also spoke at the programme.

Published: 12:01 am Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Last modified: 9:17 pm Wednesday, August 20, 2014

TAGS: government Parliament Supreme Court judges gag media control judiciary incapacity misconduct

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