Referring to a controversial newspaper report alleging involvement of Indian troops in a recent drive in Satkhira, BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia today expressed her doubt whether all who took part in the drive were members of Bangladesh's joint forces.
“The houses of the people have been destroyed in a way which seems they were not people of the country. No citizen of Bangladesh can do this to his own countrymen,” Khaleda told a public rally at Suhrawardy Udyan in the capital this afternoon.
“Is our sovereignty still intact or the government has sold it to others?” the former premier asked.
Expressing her fear that Bangladesh was going to lose its independence, she said called upon those who took part in the country’s 1971 Liberation War to rise up again to protect the country and its democracy.
“Our first job will be protecting the democracy.”
Khaleda, also head of the 18-party opposition alliance, demanded immediate election under a non-party administration, saying the government does not have people’s mandate to run the country.
“The government does not have public support. It is trying to stay in power by using force,” she said.
"But no government can stay in power this way for long."
She called for holding an immediate dialogue to decide the mode of the election-time government.
“Let’s hold an election under a non-party government to bring peace in the country,” said the BNP chief, saying that people would accept whatever the results come through such polls.
She called upon the government to create a congenial atmosphere of acceptable election through dialogue.
Khaleda blamed the government for destroying the country's constitution by amending it “arbitrarily”.
The BNP chief blasted the Awami League government for creating the stalemate by abolishing the caretaker government system through the 15th amendment to the constitution.
She accused the ruling party men for the recent attacks on the Hindu people.
“The government has to bear all responsibilities because it has failed to protect them, arrest the attackers.”
She alleged that the government was creating new issues to distract people from other issues.
She criticised the government for delay in issuing permission for the 18-party rally.
“We did not use any firearms when your leaders took to the streets. But why your government orders law enforcers to open fire indiscriminately?” she said addressing PM Sheikh Hasina.
She protested the arrest of the senior party leaders including MK Anwar and Moudud Ahmed by implicating them in what she termed "false cases".
She accused the government had been trying to harass the opposition leaders by lodging false cases against.
Khaleda demanded the release of all political leaders.
“Investment will not come and aid will decrease,” she said.