Amid the ongoing upheaval consequent upon blockade across the country adviser to BNP, former diplomat Reaz Rahman was shot and hospitalised for medical treatment on 13 January; while Khaleda Zia, the chief of the main Opposition BNP and the 20-party opposition alliance had to spend the 13th day in confinement at her office on January 15, with riot police standing guard and water cannon vehicle in addition to two police vans were placed in front of the main gate of the office building. Police were also deployed restricting movement of people in surrounding areas including the south and north sides of her office.
The police locked the main gate of the BNP chairperson’s office from outside around noon on January 5 as soon as the government came to know that Khaleda was preparing to leave the office to move towards her party’s Nayapaltan office to attend the rally, which prompted her to call a countrywide ‘non-stop’ blockade. BNP vice-chairman Selima Rahman and Mahila Dal general secretary Shirin Akhter were also kept confined to the office along with Khaleda. Earlier on December 28, 2013, Khaleda Zia was confined to her Gulshan house just before she was scheduled to start for her party’s ‘march for democracy’ programme on December 29. At that time, she was kept confined for 11 days, with the police barricading the entrance to her house with sand-laden trucks, water cannons, and prison vans in addition to police pickups.
This harrying persecution and mental torture inflicted upon Khaleda [who ruled Bangladesh in two terms for 10 years as elected Prime Minister after fair and credible elections] by the ruling Awami League (AL) government of PM Sheikh Hasina whose 5 January polls were highly controversial, unprecedented and unheard of in any democracy anywhere in the world.
Police, meanwhile, filed around three dozen cases in at least 16 districts accusing more than 17,000 people, including 1,787 BNP men, over the violence on January 5 farcical polls. Police also sued over a hundred pro- Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) lawyers on the Supreme Court premises on 5 January. In between October 2013 to January 2014, police filed more than 4,500 cases against the BNP-led 20-party alliance members. More than three hundred thousand opposition men, named and unnamed, stood accused. Given its history, turning Bangladesh into a police state will be futile.
PM’s public meeting utterances full of invectives and fictitious allegations hurled against Khaleda—-the most popular leader of the country as opinion surveys have shown—-have crossed the limits of decency. While Moinuddin Khan Badal, leader of Samajtantrik Dal (a partner of the AL-led alliance) has been quoted as saying that “police should shoot agitators in the chest”, the sacked minister now imprisoned A. Latif Siddiki in 2013, in presence of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, asked the party men to “kill” hartal enforcers. [Vide Daily Star, August 17, 2013] He also urged the party chief to take a firm stance in this regard. The AL chief and PM seemed to take no notice of it as she did not reprimand her cabinet colleague. No individual, small or insignificant and irrespective of his social calling —- let alone a minister —- can ever utter such words that are tantamount to directly encourage murder which is the most serious punishable offence. But such abhorrent things are being allowed.
In a democratic country every individual, let alone a political party such as the BNP, has the constitutionally guaranteed right to hold rally or meeting to press home its demands—-but the AL government has been obstructing such assembly in violation of the constitutional provision. Of course such undesirable appalling demeanour is not unusual: The Bengali daily Prothom Alo reported on 22 August 2013 that the AL government was heading for withdrawing as many as 114 murder cases against its own men. Regarding some cases even the government -appointed public prosecutors at the district level declined to recommend in favour of quashment. But this rule is not being obeyed under pressure of the ruling AL MPs and ministers.
Gulshan police have said, the police uncovered quite a few facts in investigating the attack on Reaz Rahman. They found a bullet shell and a part of a used bullet. The police have also got the video taken from the CC camera of a nearby building. The video shows persons on four motorbikes leaving the spot after the incident. Dabir Uddin, United Hospital’s director (clinical operations), told the Prothom Alo that Mr. Rahman was now out of danger. He said, the hospital has formed a six-member board for his treatment. MRI and CT Scan reports indicate soft tissue and nerve tissues have been damaged.
The PM should seriously think over the crisis emanated from the farcical polls. The elections held under the CG in 1991, 1996, 2001 and 2008 were unanimously acknowledged as free and fair by election observers at home and abroad. Through this system the two big political parties, the AL and the BNP came to power. To sum up, the ruling AL has unsettled the settled issue of the CG system. We reiterate, the government should hold dialogue with BNP and others for an acceptable midterm election as soon as possible to avert further turmoil.
Source: Weekly Holiday