A plot afoot to throw BNP leaders out of polls
The BNP yesterday alleged the government was conspiring to implicate its senior leaders in "false and fabricated" cases to make them ineligible for the national election "like it did to Khaleda Zia".
"They file false, fabricated and fictitious cases against us and have us convicted. All of our senior leaders have been facing 10-60 cases," BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir told a mammoth rally on Cumilla Town Hall premises.
The government is trying to hasten the trials against BNP leaders and throw those leading the movement in jail the way BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia was convicted and jailed in false cases, he said.
No election will be held unless Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina steps down handing over the power to a non-party caretaker government, he added.
The people will not let the government hold another one-sided election like the ones held in 2014 and 2018, Fakhrul warned.
The government is resorting to trickery to hold a stage-managed election using the Electronic Voting Machines because the Awami League nominees will lose their security money if there is a fair election, he said.
The government has started raiding the BNP leaders and activists' houses in the capital to stop the December 10 rally, he said.
"You could not stop our rally anywhere, including in Cumilla. You also won't be able to do it in Dhaka on December 10," he said addressing the government.
BNP Standing Committee Member Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain said people were attending the BNP rallies as they are fed up with the government for destroying democracy, snatching away their rights and putting them in serious trouble with misrule and corruption.
Regarding the government's plan to declare two new divisions named Padma (Faridpur) and Meghna (Cumilla), Mosharraf said Cumilla is a historic name and the people will not accept renaming of the region.
Mirza Abbas, another standing committee member, said several thousand BNP leaders and activists were killed after the AL came to power.
"The Awami League does not care about the people. That's why they talk about famine on one hand, and engage in looting resources on the other," he said.
BNP leader Nazrul Islam Khan said, "They killed our brother Nayan Miah in Brahmanbaria before the rally. Eight of our leaders and activists have been killed during the ongoing movement. We won't let their sacrifices go in vain. We'll oust this regime through this movement."
The father of Nayan, who was recently shot dead allegedly by police while distributing leaflets for the rally, also spoke at the event and sought justice for his son.
Cumilla BNP leaders Humayun Kabir Parvez and Saiful Islam Hiru whose sons were subjected to enforced disappearance addressed the rally urging the government to ensure their safe return.
Thousands of leaders and activists joined the rally in Cumilla with relative ease as no transport strike was called this time.
A large number of police were deployed near the venue and across the city.
As the Town Hall ground is relatively small, the crowds spilled over onto Pubali Chattar on Cumilla Kandirpar Road. It seemed there were more people on the road than at the venue.
Cumilla District (South) BNP Convener Aminur Rashid chaired the event.
The BNP has been holding rallies in protest at price hikes of essentials, gas, electricity, and fuel.
Rallies have already been held in Chattogram, Mymensingh, Khulna, Rangpur, Barishal, Faridpur and Sylhet.