‘No political events in name of seminars’
Jatiya Press club authorities yesterday decided not to allow any political programmes in name of discussions or seminars.
A press release signed by press club joint secretary Mainul Alam mentioned that the decision came in a meeting of the management committee chaired by club president Farida Yasmin.
The press release also said the meeting discussed that some "chaotic and untoward incidents" took place on October 10 on the club premises.
On that day, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir participated in a programme where BNP acting chairperson Tarique Rahman virtually joined as the chief guest.
On October 11, Awami League joint secretary and Information Minister Hasan Mahmud commented that the standard and dignity of the press club is being hampered due to meetings of BNP. He said "press club should not be a place of rallies like Naya Paltan [the central office of BNP]".
On the same day, the press club president issued a statement where she said the virtual meeting with Tarique Rahman is contrary to the laws of Bangladesh.
Meanwhile on October 12, Awami League secretary general and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader also said BNP has made the press club a political podium. BNP's political gathering inside the press club is totally illegal and unacceptable, he added.
A day later, the decision of banning the political programmes came from the management committee.
The press release mentioned that "the meeting said the management committee is committed to maintaining the discipline and orderliness at any cost for the interest of club members."
"The rules and conditions prescribed for the rent of various halls and auditoriums of the club must be complied with," it said.
The meeting also decided to ban the programmes in name of Jihad Smriti Parishad, Zia Parishad and any political party's rallies and events.
The committee sought cooperation from all concerned in this regard.
Contacted, Press Club general secretary Elias Khan said there were some chaotic incidents that took place on that day.
"I was abroad at the time but learned that many people were present at the programme -- more than our auditorium capacity. We have many auditoriums where every day various events take place and the whole area becomes crowded.
"Besides, our limited parking space gets full due to so many gatherings. Also, the ongoing metro rail project has already narrowed the road in front of the club. Due to all of these reasons, we have decided to discourage mass gatherings on the premises."
Asked, he said, "There is no connection between the virtual meeting with Tarique Rahman and the current decision."