BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia on Saturday blamed government forces and associate bodies of the ruling Awami League for the September violence in Cox’s Bazar and Chittagong.
“Different forces of the government, Bangladesh Chhatra League and Jubo League attacked Buddhist community in Ramu and Ukhia of Cox’s Bazar and Patiya of Chittagong,” Khaleda said. “That is way the government did not form any high-powered committee to investigate the incident.”
She made the comments at two separate rallies at Chakoria Bus Stand in Chittagong and Khijari High School Ground in Ramu of Cox’s Bazar.
Addressing a solidarity rally in Ramu, the former premier said local BNP lawmaker Lutfar Rahman rushed to the spot on that night to stave off the situation. But the government said that BNP was involved with the incident, she added.
“I came to you at Ramu as BNP believes in communal harmony,” she told her audience that includes the affected people.
Khaleda urged the government to immediately arrest those involved with Ramu violence and bring them to justice.
“If the government failed to arrest and punish the culprits, we will bring them to justice if we come to power.”
With the ending of the tenure of the present government, the Awami League government is now busy with looting and extortion, Khaleda alleged.
She questioned that where were Razakars and war criminals when Awami League staged movement with Jamaat-e-Islami leaders in 1995-96.
She said that people’s wealth and minority communities are not saved from this government, adding this government should be ousted through forging a united movement.
Earlier, Khaleda addressed a roadside rally at Chakoria Bus Stand in the afternoon on her way to Ramu upazila. After her half an hour speech that ended around 2:10pm, the BNP chairperson started for Ramu and arrived there at 3:45pm.
The former prime minister has started her address at Ramu around 4:30pm, reports our correspondent travelling with her.
Khaleda, who is paying a visit to Ramu 40 days after the attack on Buddhist community, started her journey for Ramu around 10:50am from Chittagong Circuit House where she stayed for the night.
The leader of the opposition in Parliament is going to Ramu Cox’s Bazar by road to visit the ravaged Buddhist temples and localities of the upazila.
On the night of September 29, a mob destroyed 18 Buddhist temples and monasteries and more than 50 houses in Ramu. The violence was apparently triggered by a Facebook photo defaming the holy Quran.
At Chakoria, Khaleda said the government has been looting the country.
Pointing to the prime minister, the BNP chief said, “You had killed people using logi-boitha in 2007. We have records of everything. Have you thought, how will you get rid of it?”
“Situation (of the country) is very bad. There is government in real sense. It has failed in every sector,” she said.
Khaleda said: “Our labours are coming back from Middle East and different other countries like Malaysia. Sending manpower abroad has been halted completely.”
People cannot afford meals twice a day due to high prices of daily essentials, she said adding price of rice is Tk 35 per kg, pulse Tk 120-Tk 140, salt Tk 20, oil Tk 120 per litre and Tk 50 for four egg pieces.
Youths from every house remain jobless, she added, and termed the government as “world thief and world corrupt”.
“Prime minister’s family and her cabinet members are indulged in looting and corruption. That’s why the World Bank, IMF, IDS and Jica stopped funding Bangladesh,” the opposition leader said.
She accused the government of siphoning off money earned through looting and extortion.
Though the family of the premier and her cabinet members have link with controversial Hall-Mark and Destiny groups, none of them are being arrested, Khaleda alleged.
“The future under the Awami League tenure is dark. We have to oust this world thief and save the country,” she said.
Khaleda said, “If the government wants to hold the next general election in 2014, we have no objection but no election will be held under Awami League.”
“The elections have to be held under a non-party caretaker government as no election under the Awami League-led government will be free and fare.”
During elections held under the tenure of the present government, they looted ballot boxes and did not allow voters to cast their votes. This is the scenario of the elections under the AL-led government, Khaleda alleged.
“The next election cannot be held under the Awami League government. We will not let Awami League to hold any election under it,” the BNP chief said.
Khaleda said, “If you (PM) believe in democracy, then pass the caretaker government bill in parliament. Otherwise, people will realise their demand of restoring the caretaker government through tough movement. You will have to face hard time.”
She also called upon the people to vote for BNP-led alliance in the next election and to save the country, its people and the future of their children.
“We will create jobs, expand scope for business once we are voted to power,” she said.
Government intelligence agencies are also involved with killings and forced disappearances of opposition leaders, she said, adding that time has come to bring back peace and discipline in the country by ousting the government.
The AL, former chief adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed and former army chief Moeen U Ahmed pushed the country 50 years back, she said.
Khaleda called upon the people of all religions to build the country together and to take the country forward.
She alleged that the government has provided firearms to BCL and Jubo League for torturing the opposition leaders and activists. “But we will build strong resistance together with people so that they will not get any scope to use those.”
The party’s senior leaders including Standing Committee Member Moudud Ahmed and acting Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir are accompanying the former premier.
She is scheduled to address a ‘Sompritee Somabesh’ (rally of amity) in Ramu in the afternoon.
Earlier on October 8, Prime Minster Sheikh Hasina visited Ramu and held the local BNP lawmaker responsible for the attacks in Ramu on September 29.
On Saturday, Khaleda started her journey by road around 4:00pm on Friday from her Gulshan residence and arrived in Chittagong around midnight.
She will spend the night at Cox’s Bazar Circuit House today, and tomorrow she will go to Ukhia upazila and address a rally there before she starts back for Dhaka the same day.
Earlier on October 10, narrating the violent attacks on them, Buddhist leaders at a meeting with Khaleda at her Gulshan office invited her to visit the violence-hit areas to witness the atrocities herself.
In the evening hours of September 29, several hundred Buddha statues were also looted from different temples and monasteries during the mayhem.
The next day, some miscreants vandalised two monasteries and a Hindu temple in Patiya upazila of Chittagong and torched two monasteries at Ukhia and five houses at Teknaf upazila in Cox’s Bazar.
Source: The Daily Star