BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia has alleged that the government has destroyed the moral strength of law enforcement agencies and turned them into “a killing force” through politicisation.
“Intelligence agencies are being used to oppress democratic forces and eliminate opposition parties at the directives from outside [the country],” she said at a press conference at Hotel Westin in the capital yesterday.
Khaleda mentioned reports of local and international human rights groups and the media about oppression on activists of the BNP-led 19-party alliance, and human rights violation in Bangladesh.
In her 45-minute speech, the BNP chief drew attention of all intentional organisations, including the United Nations, for taking initiatives to stop “killings” in Bangladesh.
Khaleda urged the government to take steps immediately to hold a national election as soon as possible. “Otherwise, there is no reason to think that we will keep making calls for holding dialogue for an indefinite period.”
Top leaders of the BNP and its allies were present at the press conference.
The BNP chief said the way state terrorism is rising in the absence of rule of law and justice, the country would face a humanitarian crisis. And the suppression of political and democratic rights is paving the way for the rise of extremism and militancy.
Khaleda said her party has a lot of experience in running the country and knows what decision should be taken in which situation. “The BNP is moving forward by formulating short and long-term strategies on political and organisational issues.”
Replying to a query, the former prime minister said the opposition alliance would soon launch a fresh anti-government agitation.
Giving accounts of "oppression and killing" of opposition men by law enforcers and Awami League men, she alleged that more than 300 opposition activists were murdered and forcibly disappeared between December 26 and January this year.
Of them, 242 were killed and 60 were forcibly disappeared, Khaleda said without giving the names and identity of all the victims.
In the statement, she mentioned the names and posts of only seven BNP leaders and one from the Jamaat-e-Islami, a key ally of the BNP.
“Though my party prepared the list based on information it had obtained, the actual situation is more alarming and dreadful,” Khaleda said in her second press conference since the January 5 parliamentary polls.
The BNP-led combine had boycotted the election, as it was not held under a non-party government.
On January 15, Khaleda briefed journalists on the political situation after the 10th parliamentary election.
The BNP chairperson yesterday once again defended the BNP-led alliance's decision to boycott the January 5 polls, and said her party would have secured two-thirds majority in parliament had the election been fair and inclusive.
“The BNP and our alliance partners think our decision to stay away from the election was right. By boycotting the polls, people have proved that no free and fair election can be held under the present government,” she said.
“We did not make any mistake by boycotting the polls. It is the present illegal government that made a mistake by holding the one-sided election against people's will.”
Khaleda placed a set of 10 demands, including immediate holding of national election under a non-party administration, putting a stop to “oppression and killing” of opposition activists, release of all detained opposition men and withdrawal of “false” cases against them.
On the ruling party's call for severing ties with the Jamaat, a key component of the BNP-led alliance, Khaleda said, “We will decide everything on our own. Who are they to dictate us?”
Asked why the BNP is allowing its leaders to contest upazila polls while it has been saying it will not join any election under a partisan government, Khaleda said anyone can participate in local body polls as these are non-partisan in nature.
At least one person was killed in each of Jhenidah, Magura, Bagerhat, Patuakhali, Pirojpur, Kishoreganj and Munshiganj, two each in Naogaon, Rangpur, Kurigram, Rajshahi and Chuadanga, three in Natore, four in each of Thakurgaon, Kushtia, Jessore, Khulna and Comilla, five in each of Dinajpur and Bogra, six each in Nilphamari, Gaibandha and Lalmonirhat, seven in each of Pabna and Meherpur, nine in Feni, 11 in Noakhali, 12 in Joypurhat, 13 in Chapainawabganj, 14 in Sirajganj, 15 in Chittagong, 17 in Cox's Bazar, 20 in Laxmipur, 23 in Chandpur and 27 in Satkhira, according to data provided by Khaleda.
At least one person was forcibly disappeared in Khulna, two in each of Jhenidah, Comilla and Laxmipur, three each in Sylhet and Chittagong, six in Satkhira, nine in Nilphamari, 11 in Gaibandha and 21 in the capital, it said.