BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia yesterday asked the government to quit immediately and arrange fresh national elections under a non-party administration.
“Don't waste any more time. Stop any further killings and forced disappearances; restore democracy, rule of law and peace in the country by holding fresh elections,” she told a public rally at the Munshiganj launch ghat.
The district unit of BNP organised the rally in protest at the recent spate of killings, abductions and forced disappearances across the country, including the seven-murder in Narayanganj.
Reiterating her demand for disbanding the Rapid Action Battalion, Khaleda said the elite force members have got involved in killings and forced disappearances. “Even I can't say that my life is safe under the incumbent government,” she added.
Some civil society members have been arguing for bringing reforms in the Rab instead of disbanding it. But reforms would not be of any benefit to the force, mentioned the former premier.
“As the Rab has now got infected with gangrene and cancer, using an antibiotic and cutting any of its parts will not produce any result. The force will have to be disbanded. The Rab cannot exist,” she insisted.
If voted to power, said the BNP chief, her party upon consultations with all concerned will form another force which will be entrusted with specific duties and be held accountable to the government.
“We had formed the Rab to restore peace and law and order in the country. We had succeeded in doing so. That's why our objective to establish the Rab was right. But now the government has been using the force to kill people and making them disappear forcefully,” noted Khaleda.
The huge crowd that gathered at Munshiganj Launch Terminal area yesterday to listen to former prime minister and BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia speak at a rally. Photo: Amran Hossain
Blaming the elite force for the murder of labour leader Aminul Islam, she said the present government has destroyed the Rab which has now become a professional killer force that kills people on hire.
This was Khaleda's second rally outside the capital after the one-sided parliamentary polls on January 5. Earlier, she addressed a rally in Rajbari on March 1.
In the last one month, the government barred the BNP chief from joining rallies in the capital on at least five occasions.
In Munshiganj, the district and police administration gave permission to the local BNP for holding the rally under 20 conditions, including ending the meeting before sunset, not to make any provocative comment and not carrying sticks to the rally venue.
Criticising the government for the recent killings and forced disappearances, Khaleda urged people to get united to oust the government. The BNP will wage a movement across the country to unseat the government, she added.
“The Awami League had been out of power for 21 years. Now you [people] take such measures so that it can't return to power in next 42 years,” she said amid clappings of thousands of people.
Pointing to the arrest of Phulgazi unit BNP president Mahtabuddin Minar in connection with the killing of Phulgazi upazila chairman Ekramul Haq in Feni, she said the “innocent” BNP leader was held to hush up the involvement of ruling party men in the murder. She demanded the government free Minar immediately.
The BNP chairperson alleged that the Hasina government has made many people cry by killing their family members and repressing them. “But this time the Awami League has to cry. They will cry and beg you [people] by holding your hands and legs. But you [AL] will not be pardoned as you have committed grievous crimes.”
Terming the present government and parliament illegal, she said the government is holding office only by resorting to falsehood and carrying out repressive acts, which cannot continue for long.
Khaleda accused the ruling party men of indulging in terrorism, tender manipulation and corruption.
Blasting Hasina for not allowing her to hold rallies in the capital, she said the government was afraid of people. “That's why they [government] are obstructing us from holding rallies in the capital. You will see [in future] how to hold rallies in the capital,” she noted.
About the seven-murder in Narayanganj, she said the prime minister must be held accountable for the killings and brought to book as the latter has been in charge of the home ministry.
She demanded the government mete out the highest punishment to the three arrested Rab officials in connection with the seven-murder and withdraw their end-of-service benefits.