Peaceful sit-in on Mar 12 planned: goodbye, if foiled’

CHANDPUR, FEB 13: The BNP chairperson and leader of the opposition Khaleda Zia has warned that her party will say goodbye to the government through a ‘people-based’ sit-in programme if obstacles are created to March 12 programme. The former prime minister was addressing a grand rally at Chandpur Stadium Field on Monday protesting the killing of Lemon and Abul, two BNP activists, in police firing on January 29 when the local BNP and its allies brought out a procession in the district town as part of its central programme. Presided over by Chandpur district BNP president Mominul Haque, the protest rally was addressed, among others, by BNP top leaders including standing committee members Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, MK Anwar, ASM Hannan Shah and Abdul Moyeen Khan and BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir.
Asking the AL not to announce any counter programme on March 12, Khaleda said she would announce next action programmes there to press home the party demands.
“The programme will be people-based, not like that of ‘oars-sticks’ one, where I will stay and you will also have to stay and we will say goodbye to this failed government from that programme,” she said.
Khaleda, earlier in her speech, however, said “We do not want to overthrow
the government rather want to see how the government can run the country in a limping way.”
She also reiterated her stand on the restoration of the caretaker government system saying, ‘there will be no election in the country under a political government and using electronic voting machines.’
The leader of the opposition said the name of ‘non-party and neutral’ election-time government does not matter, be it caretaker government or be it any other name, if the AL does not like the name ‘caretaker government’.
Portraying a gloomy picture of country’s law and order, Khaleda Zia said, the AL government could give the nation nothing but deadbodies in the last three years.
“People are being killed everyday. People are not safe at their homes today as well. Some 12000 people were killed in last three years. Even after that the home minister is claiming that law and order is normal…she should have resigned by this time,’ she said. She also mentioned the killing of journalist couple in Dhaka.
“The government has stained its hands with blood. This government is a killer. Police on government instructions killed five people in three districts when they were joining the mass-processions.”  “How many mothers will lose theirs sons… and how many wives will lose their husbands,” Khaleda asked the government.
She asked the members of law enforcers not to do ‘excesses’. “You will have to answer for this. Even it does not happen now. You will have to answer for this later.”
“The trial must be held…we will hold the trial,” Khaleda pledged.
She said, “Killing cannot thwart the movement. Rather killing and torture expedite the movement.’
Showing a picture in which police was carrying the deadbody of Lemon Chhaiyal, she compared police’s excesses with that of BSF and questioned whether those members of police were of Bangladesh.  Khaleda also was very critical of government’s failure to lodge protest against the killing and torture along border by Indian BSF.
“The border killings must be stopped right at this moment, otherwise the Border Guard Bangladesh will have to take stern action against them,” said Khaleda.
“AL does not believe in democracy and rule of law, rather believes in looting, extortion, tender manipulation and land grabbing,” she alleged.  Khaleda also shed light on the past activities of AL in which she claimed the party killed numerous people to perpetuate the state power. “They [AL] can only speak. Essentials’ prices have gone beyond the buying capacity of people, unemployment is increasing, banks are on the verge of bankruptcy, expatriates are returning home.” She also said Bangladesh has become friend-less state for the government ‘failures.’ Khaleda Zia also was critical of share market debacle and government ‘failures’ to solve electricity crisis. “Quick rental power stations were set up to amass some quick bucks,” she alleged. She said her party will continue with peaceful political programmes to press home its demand.  Khaleda said the AL government got scared of the successes of the BNP’s peaceful political programmes and claimed AL would not be able to regain power if fair polls are held.
“That is why,’ she said, ‘They annulled the non-party caretaker government system making the court a scapegoat.” The leader of the opposition called upon her party activists to get prepared to lodge protests if the government obstructs the ‘march toward Dhaka programme’ on March 12.
“People will pour in on March 12 programme. That is why the AL is speaking gibberish,” she said adding, “We did not want to occupy Dhaka. Rather we will hold peaceful programme.”
“Do not announce any counter programme on the day. You will have to shoulder the responsibility if anything happens on the day,” Khaleda warned the government.
Hundreds of portraits and archways were also erected on both side of the road while hundreds of activists of BNP and allies lined up on the both sides of the road to accord reception to their leader.
Earlier, the BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia on Monday reached Chandpur on Monday leaving her Gulshan office around 11.15am, with party’s vice-president Selima Rahman in the same car, Khaleda’s motorcade was greeted at Chandpur Circuit House by BNP Acting Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, joint-secretary general Mohammad Shahjahan, Chandpur district unit president Mominul Haque and other leaders.
Thousands of party supporters massed on both sides of the road at places such as Comilla’s Madhumati, Lalmai and Laksam to cheer the former prime mnister. More than 100 welcoming archways have been built on the road from Comilla’s Padua Bazaar to Chandpur on the occasion.
At Chandpur’s Kachua, A N M Ehsanul Haque Milon, the education minister in Khaleda’s 2001-06 cabinet, and thousands of supporters greeted the motorcade in prisoners’ uniform, as a token protest against what the party claims are ‘false’ cases filed against its leaders and cadres by the Awami League.

Source: The Independent