Noted human rights activist Sultana Kamal yesterday said the fairness of the upcoming national polls is yet to be ensured because a “level playing field” has not been created.
The parliament is still continuing which is “unprecedented”. The ministers, who are aspirants, are still holding their positions, she said at a press conference in the capital.
Chattogram Hill Tracts Commission (CHT Commission), CHT Citizens' Committee and Association for Land Reform and Development (ALRD) arranged the press conference on “Free Participation of Indigenous Community Voters of Three Hill Districts in Upcoming Parliamentary Election” at Dhaka Reporters Unity.
Responding to a query, Sultana said except for the four technocrats, the ministers did not give up their administrative protocols.
They are using national flag-bearing cars, inaugurating programmes that are publicised on billboards, and also giving speeches marking different days, she claimed.
“This means, their [the ministers'] powerful positions have been projected before people,” she said.
“This, I think, is unethical prior to election,” she added.
Sultana said participation of all political parties validates the inclusiveness of the election. However, the Election Commission has to be honest and transparent while doing its duty.
“Otherwise, it will be held responsible [for not fulfilling duty] in history,” said Sultana.
Expressing concern over polls-related violence, she said such incidents have become “inevitable” and have created panic.
On voting rights of indigenous people, Sultana, also co-chair of CHT Commission, urged the EC to take proper measures so that they can cast their votes without fear.
At the press conference, speakers urged the EC to ensure a congenial atmosphere all over the country, including the three hill districts, so that people can exercise their democratic rights peacefully.
They urged political parties to make clear pledges in their election manifestos about implementing the CHT Peace Accord .
They also demanded for prompt state action over fair probe and speedy trial of all killings, disappearances, kidnaps and rapes in CHT.
Rights activists Khushi Kabir and Sara Hossain, ALRD Executive Director Shamsul Huda, and CHT Citizens' Committee President Gautam Dewan also spoke at the event.