BNP leaders yesterday said people will not allow anyone to hold the 11th parliamentary elections without the release of Khaleda Zia.
They also vowed to free Khaleda from jail through a strong movement.
“People and different political parties have now reached a consensus that the next election must be fair and participatory. Our foreign friends are also saying the same,” said BNP standing committee member Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain.
He was speaking at a token hunger strike programme on the premises of Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh in Dhaka. Demanding Khaleda's release from jail and proper treatment, BNP arranged the event from 10:00am to 12:00pm.
The election will not be participatory without the participation of BNP and its Chairperson Khaleda Zia, he added.
“We will not allow holding such polls. We will join the election after freeing our leader,” he said, adding that the government has kept Khaleda in jail convicting her in a false case.
Holding banners, festoons and placards, hundreds of party leaders and activists joined the programme. A large number of law enforcers were deployed near the venue to maintain law and order.
At the event, Mosharraf said, “It's the government's responsibility to provide her [Khaleda] with treatment since she is in jail. But it is not taking any step in this regard.”
Criticising law enforcers, Mosharraf said, “You are public servants, not servants of the Awami League… So, don't harass, arrest or file cases for no reason.”
He reiterated the party's demand for resignation of the government before the announcement of the election schedule, reconstitution of the Election Commission and deployment of army to hold the next polls in a fair and credible manner.
Another BNP standing committee member Moudud Ahmed said, “Now, it is not possible to free Khaleda through a legal battle.”
“The only way is to take to the streets. We are on a movement and we will intensify it to ensure the government's fall,” he added.
Moudud warned that their party will come up with strong action programmes to unseat the government at the right time. He called upon BNP leaders and activists to prepare themselves to make the movement a success.
Prof Emajuddin Ahmed, a former vice chancellor of Dhaka University, ended the token hunger strike by offering water to BNP leaders.
Meanwhile, BNP alleged that at least 120 party men were detained by law enforcers from around the venue.
BNP OFFICE VANDALISED IN CTG
The BNP Chittagong district (south) office was vandalised at Dost Building in New Market area in the afternoon, reports our staff correspondent.
The incident took place after a token hunger strike programme demanding release of Khaleda Zia ended. Some furniture of the office was ransacked.
Jaforul Islam Chowdhury, president of the unit, told The Daily Star that even though their office is in Kotwali area, they held the programme in Bakalia.
“We held a peaceful programme around noon. Soon after it ended at 2:00pm, we heard about the attack. Some miscreants are out to destabilise the party,” he alleged without elaborating or naming anyone.
He said a photo of the party chairperson was vandalised. “If they were party activists, they would never have done that,” he claimed.
Meanwhile, some party activists, wishing anonymity, said some Chhatra Dal men who were left out from its Chittagong (south) unit committee, formed last month, were behind the attack.
The mobile phone of Shohidul Alam, president of Chittagong south unit of Chhatra Dal, was found switched off.
Jamir Uddin, its joint secretary, said they heard about the attack but “didn't know who were the behind it”.
When asked, Mohammed Mohsin, officer-in-charge of Kotwali Police Station, said they rushed to the spot on information, and found the office vandalised. “No one complained to us about the incident yet. If we get any complain, we will investigate,” he added.
PRO-BNP JU TEACHERS DEMAND KHALEDA'S RELEASE
Pro-BNP teachers and staff of Jahangirnagar University observed a token hunger strike on the campus yesterday, demanding release and better treatment of Khaleda Zia.
Some 50 teachers and officials, under the banner of “Jahangirnagar Nationalist Teachers-Officers-Staff Forum” took part in it from 11:00am to 1:00pm, reports our JU correspondent.
Among others, Prof Syed Kamrul Ahsan of archaeology department, Prof Shamsul Alam Selim of government and politics, Prof Kamrul Ahsan of philosophy and Prof Sharif Uddin of mathematics were present.