Let people tell the truth to curb rumours, says Mirza Fakhrul

Let people tell the truth to curb rumours, says Mirza Fakhrul

Prothom Alo English Desk | Aug 10, 2018

Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam. File PhotoBangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam came down hard on the government for what he said arresting and torturing the students who waged the movement for safe roads.

Demanding their immediate release, he accused ruling party men of attacking the students during their demonstrations, and urged the government to arrest the attackers.

“We would like to clearly say that BNP had no involvement in violence during the student movement. We demand the arrest of those terrorists wearing masks and helmets brutally attacked journalists and demonstrators in presence of police,” the BNP leader said.

He was addressing a press conference at the party’s Naya Paltan central office in the capital on Friday.

He trashed the ruling Bangladesh Awami League (AL) general secretary Obaidul Quader’s comment that BNP-Jamaat activists attacked their party president’s Dhanmondi office and students, saying even any unhinged person won’t believe it.

Fakhrul said their party extended support to the student movement as it was justified one. “If our support is an offence, then the prime minister and police officials also committed the same crime.”

About the rumours on social media during student movement, he said it is happening as the government is obstructing circulation of the truth and repressing those who are speaking it. “If you want to check rumours, you will have to allow people to talk and present the truth.”

He alleged that the ruling party always remains in fear of the BNP. “Awami League gets panicked hearing the name of the BNP like people suffering from rabies fear water. That’s why it (AL) sees BNP’s involvement with every incident. It seems to me they (AL leaders) can’t sleep at night out of the fear of BNP.”

The BNP leader criticised the government for arresting Drik Gallery founder and eminent photographer Shahidul Alam for what he said in an interview with Al Jazeera Television.

“Now people have no right to talk or express their views. The government is regulating the media and freedom of expression as it’s an unelected one.”

BNP standing committee members Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, Moudud Ahmed, Gayeshwar Chandra Roy, Abdul Moyeen Khan and Nazrul Islam Khan were, among others, present in the news conference.

BNP on Friday demanded changes in the draft Road Transport Bill approved by the Cabinet in consultation with experts to ensure safe roads as per demands of the students.

“All stakeholders, but the transport owners, turned down the draft Road Transport Bill the Cabinet approved as it won’t help fulfil the students’ demand for safe roads,” said BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir.

He further said, “We demand the government reform the bill through discussions with those working for ensuring road safety to implement the students’ demands.”

On Monday, the cabinet approved the draft Road Transport Bill with a provision of maximum five years’ jail for any death or serious injuries caused by reckless or negligent driving, while death penalty for intentional murder by driving.

The approval was given at the weekly meeting of the cabinet held with prime minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair following the student movement demanding safe road.

Justifying their demands for reform in the bills, Fakhrul said there are neither any specific guidelines in the bill to avoid killings or unexpected incidents caused by reckless driving nor any provision of stern action for it.

“Everybody knows the accident takes place for the crime committed by drivers. But it’s the responsibility of owners to appoint drivers, maintain the fitness of vehicles, pay drivers’ salary and put them on necessary rest. There’s no provision of taking any action against the owners for their negligence in the bill,” he observed.

The BNP leader said there is also no provision kept in the bill to take action against those BRTA officials who indulge in corruption and irregularities. “Besides, the High Court’s observations in this regard are not given importance in the bill.”

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