BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia on Saturday declined to propose for a dialogue with the government and warned of tougher protests like shutdowns and blockades if the ruling Awami League-led administration does not step down.
She made the statement at a Manikganj rally hours after her close aide and BNP’s Acting Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir sought a formal proposal from the government to hold talks.
Khaleda’s comment also put brakes on the ruling quarter’s enthusiasm for a dialogue to end the current political deadlock.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith on Saturday said Khaleda should propose for talks first, while LGRD Minister Syed Ashraful Islam said they were open to dialogue.
But Khaleda said, “There’s no point in talking to them (the government). Either they will go, or more shutdowns and blockades will be announced.”
She termed the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as one of ‘killers’.
Her party has been saying it would not contest next polls without a caretaker government in place, while the government stresses it would not restore the system annulled in 2011 in line with a Supreme Court order.
Khaleda held the government responsible for the death of people during the recent violence.
“There will be special tribunals in the future to try these killings … No. 1 person, I mean the current Prime Minister, must stand in the dock for trial.”
She visited Singair in Manikganj where four people were killed during a recent violence on Feb 24.
The opposition chief also extended financial assistance to the families of those killed and injured during that violence.
She visited the residence of Maulana Nasir Uddin and offered condolences to the bereaved family members. The BNP chief handed over cheques of Tk 300,000 each to four bereaved families. She also distributed financial aid to the families of those injured.
Khaleda told the rally, “The people have lost their faith in this government. They (the government) used police to commit mass murders. At least 170 people have been killed. That’s why this killer government cannot stay in power anymore. This government must be ousted through tougher movement.”
“There is no point of having any talks with this killer government. Some more lives will possibly be lost in the process to oust them. But even then, we must take it to the streets to remove this government.”
She urged everyone to make countrywide shutdowns for Monday and Tuesday successful. “Fresh programmes will be announced later.”
Vitamin ‘A’ capsules
Khaleda Zia also alleged that children were being killed across the country following nationwide indiscriminate killing by police firing.
“A company owned by Awami League’s Joint General Secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif is importing WHO-unauthorised and low-standard Vitamin A capsules,” she said.
She said several children were taken sick again some died after consuming those vitamin supplement.
“So, the government has now started killing infants feeding tablets after opening fire on people,” she added.
The government on Thursday said it was monitoring the children who had been admitted to different hospitals following rumours of death after consuming Vitamin A capsules during a nationwide campaign.
Director General of Health Services Khandaker Md Shefayetulla had told bdnews24.com that he had sent six of his directors to different districts for closely monitoring the treatment of those children.
Malaysia proposal ‘a bluff’
The BNP chief termed Malaysia’s proposal to invest $2.3 billion in the Padma bridge project ‘a bluff’ and alleged the World Bank had moved away from the project due to the government’s corruption.
“Now, they are talking about Malaysia’s proposal. It’s a bluff,” she said.
Malaysia said as per their estimation, the net revenue collected would be $7.4 billion, of which they would get an estimated $5.2 billion.
Khaleda alleged the government was dillydallying on the project. “They won’t be able to implement it.”
In an apparent bid to win over the crowd, she reiterated her promise that the BNP would build two bridges once if elected to power.
One of the bridges is proposed at Mawa and the other at Aricha-Daulatdia.
‘Arrest Twaki killers’
Khaleda Zia also demanded arrest of those who killed Tanvir Mohammad Twaki, son of Narayanganj Ganajagaran Mancha unit organiser and cultural activist Rafiur Rabbi.
“Newspapers say Narayanganj ‘Godfather’ Shamim Osman killed Twaki because his father campaigned for Selina Hayat Ivy during the recent city corporation election there,” she said. “But police are yet to arrest him.”
The body of Twaki, 17, a student of A-Level of ABC International School, was recovered from the Shitalakkhya river on Mar 8, two days after he had gone missing.