The rally organised by Jatiya Oikyafront was held at Madrasa Maidan in Rajshahi on Friday to mobilise public support in favour of 7-point demand for holding national election in fair and credible manner. Senior leaders including BNP Secretary General Mirz
Staff Reporter : BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Friday trashed the election schedule and said it will not be accepted unless political prisoners, including Khaleda Zia, are released. He called upon the party leaders, activista and supporters to wage a movement to meet the demands of the Jatiya Oikyafront. “Release our all political prisoners and create a level playing field, otherwise the upcoming general election will not be fruitful, ” Fakhrul said these at a rally. in Madasah field in Rajshahi city yesterday. Jatiya Oikyafront has been formed in line with the directive of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia to restore democracy in the country and to ensure people’s rights to vote freely, the BNP Secretary General said. He said the Oikyafront leaders had held dialogue with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina twice and placed its seven-point demand there. “But all our efforts have gone in vain,” he said. “We said the dialogue would not be successful if Khaleda Zia is not freed from jail. Now, we will have to meet our demands by forging a collective movement,” the BNP leader said. Fakhrul said, “Today’s question is whether democracy will remain or not. Our voting right, freedom of speech will remain or not. He said, Khaleda Zia is sick. She was under treatment. But the fascist government has brought her to jail from the hospital without completing treatment. Oikyafront top leader and Gono Forum President Dr Kamal Hossain was supposed to address the rally as the chief guest, but he could not attend it due to his reported illness. However, finally Dr. Kamal join the rally through mobile call and delivered his speech saying, the EC announced election schedule hurriedly, because they want to hold a one-sided election. It would not be possible, he added. The rally activities formally started around 2:00pm with recitation from the holy Quran and holy Gita. BNP chairperson’s adviser Mizanur Rahman Minu presided over the rally. It is the fourth rally of the Oikyafront as the alliance held rallies in Sylhet, Chattogram and capital Dhaka on October 24, 27 and November 6 respectively. JSD President ASM Abdur Rab said, we want to participate in the election. Don’t provoke us. Without accepting our seven-point demand we would not participate in the election. Rab said, freed all political prisoners, including Khaleda Zia. Krishak Sramik Janata League President Bangabir Abdul Kader Siddique said, without Khaleda Zia, there is no way to think about Bangladesh politics. It is impossible to keep her in jail. BNP Standing Committee Member Barrister Moudud Ahmed said, the government does not want to leave power. So, the two rounds dialogue did not bring any result. Another BNP Standing Committee Member Khandoker Mosharref Hossain said, Khaleda Zia did not participate the 2014 polls, which was unacceptable to all. So, the 11th Parliament polls would not acceptable without her participations, he added. Jatiya Oikyafront Leader and Nagorik Oikya Convener Manmudur Rahman Manna said, it would not possible to overcome the election by arresting the opposition leaders and activists in mass. Manna also warned the government that without the accept of seven-point demand no election will be held. Change schedule, otherwise what will happen that responsibility will go to the government. Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Leader Colonel (Retd.) Oli Ahmed, who first time join the Jatiya Oikyafront rally, said, there is no alternative to run the movement on road to free Khaleda Zia. Founder of Gonoshasthaya Kendra Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury said, the foundation of this government is police, corruption, misrule, ghost cases, and arrest. But the very foundation now is thriving. Now they are searching escape way. BNP Standing Committee Member Dr Abdul Moin Khan, Mirza Abbas, Goyeshwar Chandra Roy, Gono Forum Executive President Shubrata Chowdhury, Secretary General Mostafa Mohsin Montu, Jatiya Oikya Prokriya leader Sultan Mohammad Monsur Ahmed, among others, spoke at the rally. The bus communications between Rajshahi and Dhaka was suspended from Thursday morning for reasons not made public. BNP leaders complained that the bus service has been ceased with a motive to discourage participation on Friday’s rally. They alleged that the transports were suspended so that the leaders and activists could not attend the rally. When asked, Rajshahi Motor Sromik Union Convener Kamal Hossain refused make any comment over the issue. But transport leaders said that they were asked by ‘the administration’ to stop running of buses from Thursday morning. Rajshahi BNP leader Mizanur Rahman Minu alleged that the law enforcers had arrested its leaders and activists ahead of the rally. Despite police obstacle, several thousand leaders and activists of the BNP holding placards, banners and portraits of its founder Ziaur Rahman, Chairperson Khaleda Zia and Acting Chairman Tarique Rahman started gathering at the rally venue since 11:00am. They were chanting various slogans demanding Khaleda’s immediate release from jail. Huge law enforcers have been deployed around the rally venue. The Oikyafront’s seven-point demand includes installation of a neutral interim government, dissolution of parliament, reconstitution the Election Commission, release of all the political prisoners, deployment of army and cancellation of the move to use Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) for holding the next polls in fair and acceptable manner. On October 13, BNP together with Dr Kama Hossain-led JatiyaOikyaProkriya, JSD and NagorikOikya launched the JatiyOikyafront to press for their seven-point demand.