BNP looks to turn up the heat on govt
Considering the ongoing countrywide protest programmes a "success", the BNP now mulls over spreading the demonstrations to cities, divisional headquarters and districts to keep their presence on the streets.
The BNP has been organising demonstrations across the country since August 22 protesting the hike in prices of essentials and fuel. It's protests end today with a plan for organising fresh agitations to take the movement to the next level, party sources said.
As part of the plan, Dhaka North and South city units of BNP have drawn up programmes, including 16 public rallies, till September 27 to protest the increase in prices of essentials, transport fares, load shedding and the killings of Bhola Chhatra Dal leader Noore Alam and Narayanganj Swechchhasebak Dal leader Abdur Rahim "by police".
Speaking to The Daily Star, BNP standing committee member Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury yesterday said, "We are waging the movement for the people and to pursue their causes. They [people] are turning out in huge numbers in all our programmes, which is a big success of our movement. We are now planning to hold protests in the divisional headquarters."
He said people are taking to the streets defying attacks and arrests and it is the responsibility of the BNP and other "pro-democracy" political parties to raise their voice in favour of the people.
BNP leaders alleged that the party men were obstructed from joining demonstrations and they even came under attacks in many places across the country. In some places, they were even denied to hold demonstrations.
On July 31, a BNP man was killed in a clash between police and the party activists in Bhola town when they were holding demonstrations protesting power outages and "mismanagement" in the energy sector.
On August 3, Chhatra Dal leader Noore Alam died at a hospital in the capital of his injuries he sustained in the Bhola clash.
In Narayanganj, another BNP activist was killed in a clash with police on September 1.
Party sources said over 1,000 BNP leaders and activists were arrested and about 150 cases filed against them across the contry last month. At least 52 protest programmes were attacked and the houses of BNP leaders and activists were vandalised in 18 places.
Yesterday, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir slammed the government for attacking the party's peaceful programmes and implicating their leaders and activists in "false and fictitious" cases.
"False cases were filed against many of our leaders and activists over the last few weeks. Fictitious cases are also being lodged against us like they [government] did in the past. You know that three of our leaders have already been killed," he told reporters at the capital yesterday.
He said many leaders and activists of the party and its associated bodies have lost their eyesight while many others are maimed by injuries.
"They [government] have again unleashed a reign of terror all over the country," Fakhrul alleged.
Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, senior joint secretary general of BNP, said the Dhaka city units of the party and its front and associated bodies have already drawn up some protest programmes.
"A meeting of the party's standing committee will be held on Sunday and then some fresh programmes may be announced."
He said Dhaka North and South city units of BNP will hold rallies every alternate day at the capital's 16 points.
The two BNP units have already written to the Dhaka Metropolitan Police seeking permission for those rallies, to be attended by senior party leaders.
BNP leaders said it was high time for the party and its allies to tap into the growing public discontent over the rising living costs.
The BNP's agitation programmes before the 2014 national election drew a huge flak from home and abroad due to its violent nature. Before the last parliamentary election in 2018, the party failed to wage any strong movement.
This time, BNP leaders say they will stage protests over pro-people issues.
The party's standing committee, its highest policymaking body, already held a meeting and decided to continue the ongoing movement till the next general election, scheduled to be held in late December next year or early January in 2024.