AL, allies to move jointly
The Awami League-led 14-party alliance together with other like-minded parties will launch simultaneous political programmes across the country to resist the opposition BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami's latest "move to protect the war criminals".
The decision was made last night at a three-hour meeting of the ruling alliance, which also decided to mobilise public support in favour of the war crimes trial.
Chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, also AL president, the meeting held at the Gono Bhaban discussed the current political situation of the country.
The AL move comes against the backdrop of Sunday's street chaos in the capital and elsewhere in the country, which AL blames on BNP and its key ally Jamaat,claiming it was aimed at foiling the war crimes trial.
On Sunday, a series of crude homemade bombs went off in central Dhaka as hundreds of activists of BNP and Jamaat clashed with police, smashed more than a dozen vehicles and set some of those on fire.
A 24-year-old youth was killed in a bomb explosion at the capital's Motijheel while another man died when some unruly people torched two vehicles in Sylhet, police said.
The government and the opposition blamed each other for the incident.
AL acting general secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif told The Daily Star after the meeting, “We along with all the pro-liberation war political parties will have strong presence on the streets to mobilise public support in favour of the war crimes trial.”
The meeting decided to hold street programme programmes including mass gatherings, rallies and human chain across the country to drum up public support against the opposition's "conspiracy", meeting sources said.
Starting from the capital, the programmes will be held at the division, district, upazila and union levels. Awami League has already launched street programmes to politically challenge the opposition.
Some senior leaders of the 14-party alliance, Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury, Amir Hossain Amu, Tofail Ahmed, Abdul Jalil, Rashed Khan Menon and Hasanul Haque Inu, who were present at the meeting, was directed by the premier to make a detailed programme schedule, the sources added.
The leaders will sit today at 11:00am to prepare the plan and finalise it after consulting the Jatiya Party (JP) tomorrow. JP is the key ally of the AL-led grand alliance government.
On Monday, AL discussed with the Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) about its plan to forge a greater political unity. CPB, which is not in the AL-led alliance, agreed to be on the street with the ruling coalition.
Alliance members at the last night's meeting observed that BNP is giving all out support to the anti-liberation war forces that have resorted to violence and other criminal activities for the last few days.
Briefing journalists after the meting, Amir Hossain Amu said the war crimes trial is not a matter of a party or the government; rather it is a national issue.
“But the BNP-Jamaat alliance has been trying to foil the trial by creating unrest in the country," he said, adding that they would resist the opposition by uniting the pro-liberation forces.
Tofail said Khaleda Zia had taken a stance in favour of the war criminals. But the AL will foil the move.
Menon, president of Workers' Party of Bangladesh, and Inu, president of Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal, said they would launch simultaneous street programmes to counter the BNP-Jamaat.
Some of the alliance leaders at the meeting, however, expressed dissatisfaction over not holding meetings more frequently.
Also present at the meeting were Suranjit Sengupta, Obaidul Quader, Abdul Latif Siddique, Bimal Biswas, Sharif Nurul Ambia, Dilip Barua, Hazi Samad, Nurur Rahman Selim, Enamul Haque and Asit Baron Roy, among others.