PM deplores denial of access to her
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said denying her access to Khaleda Zia on the day Arafat Rahman Koko died was insulting.
"It was an insult to me," Hasina told parliament, five days into the incident in which she was not allowed to enter Khaleda's Gulshan office to console the BNP chief after her younger son's death in Malaysia.
"When her son died, I rushed to console her. You know the entrance to her office was kept locked and I was not allowed to enter," the PM said.
"As my motorcade could not enter the office as its main entrance was locked, I got out of my car without caring about my security and tried to go through the small [pocket] gate.
"As I took a few steps forward, I was informed that the small gate was locked as well. That means I wouldn't be allowed to get in," the leader of the House said.
She also said she was shocked to see that someone, in the cultural context of the country, could behave in such a way following anyone's death.
Censuring the BNP for blockade violence, Hasina said Khaleda Zia could not bear the pain of her son's natural death and had to be sedated. "Can she now feel the pain of a mother whose son has been burnt to death, of a wife whose husband is burned dead, and of those children who lost their fathers [in arson attacks] during the blockade?"
On a different note, the PM told the House that 26 people were killed, 133 burnt, and 382 vehicles torched and vandalised while 14 attacks on railways and 85 attacks on police and magistrates took place between January 5 and 26.
KHALEDA THANKS SYMPATHISERS
BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia last night thanked all for their condolences and sympathies following her son Arafat Rahman Koko's death.
"I would like to thank and express my gratitude to all the leaders and activists of different political parties including the BNP and its allies, professionals, civil society members, dignitaries, business leaders, sportsmen and cultural activists who came to my office and expressed condolences and sympathies,” she said in a statement signed by her Press Secretary Maruf Kamal Khan.
She also expressed her gratitude to the representatives of different international organisations and diplomatic missions.
However, she made no reference to the prime minister's abortive visit to her office.
Rather, she made a general apology to all those who had to go back without meeting her.
"I am extremely sorry as they could not meet me...," she said in the statement.