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Fakhrul sees crisis of free-thinking

Filing of cases against The Daily Star Editor Mahfuz Anam has proved that the country is facing a crisis of free-thinking, says BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir.

“Reports in the media say the BNP is facing a crisis, but it is not the BNP alone. When 37 cases are filed against Mahfuz Anam [as of Monday], it has been proved that this ongoing crisis is of free-thinking, of speaking the truth, of speaking up without any fear,” Fakhrul said yesterday.

Alleging that treason charges are brought against those who criticise the government, the BNP leader said similar charges were also brought against BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia when she criticised the government.

Fakhrul was speaking at a rally at Dhaka Reporters Unity (DRU). The rally was organised by a body formed to demand the release of MA Mannan who was suspended from his post of Gazipur City Corporation mayor over criminal charges.

Mannan, also an adviser to the BNP chief, was arrested from his Baridhara house in the capital on February 11, 2015.

"Any criticism against the government is not allowed. If anyone makes any remark [against the government], he or she has to face cases," said Fakhrul.

But in the democratic political system, government has to face the criticism, he added.

He also demanded immediate release of Amar Desh acting editor Mahmudur Rahman and journalist leader Shawkat Mahmud.

About the upcoming union parishad polls, the BNP leader alleged that the ruling party men would stuff the ballot boxes the night before the polls with the help of the administration.

"We know what will happen in the polls. Like other elections, with the assistance of the administration, they [the ruling party activists] will stuff the boxes. Even after this, we are participating in the polls to reach out to the people, and the people will see that no election can be free and fair under this government," said Fakhrul.

Meanwhile, in a joint meeting at its Nayapaltan headquarters yesterday, the party decided to hold a rally at the Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh, on February 22, to mark the International Mother Language Day.