Dispelling all speculations and braving numerous obstacles, BNP on Saturday held a massive rally peacefully in the capital, from where the party announced to initiate a 10-point simultaneous anti-government movement on December 24.
The party will hold mass processions across the country on December 24 to start the simultaneous anti-government movement along with other political parties who agreed to work with BNP for the restoration of democracy, caretaker government and people’s voting rights.
Mass processions will be held on December 13 to denounce the killing of a Swechhasebol Dal activist in police action on December 7, police rain on the BNP central office, arrest of the party’s top leaders and attack on its leaders and activists.
BNP standing committee member Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain came up with the announcement while speaking at the mammoth rally at Golapbagh ground.
Their 10-point demands include the resignation of the government, dissolution of parliament, including the provision of the caretaker government in the constitution through an amendment, formation of a new Election Commission under the caretaker government, creating a level-playing field before the election, holding the election using ballot papers, releasing BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia and all other political prisoners without any condition and revoking the Digital Security Act and other repressive laws, ensuring the freedom of expression and assembly and keeping all essential items within the buying capacity of people.
Mosharraf said their party standing committee formulated 10 points to free the country from the misrule of the current government.
He said they also talked to the parties who are keen to join the movement with BNP and they gave their consent to the points.
The BNP leader thanked the party MPs for resigning from parliament.
He alleged that the government had destroyed all institutions, including the judiciary, police and other force, only to cling to power without the people’s mandate. “People of the entire country no longer want to see this regime in power.”
He urged the Prime Minister to quit to restore peace and democracy in the country.
He said Bangladesh’s economy is now on the verge of collapse due to widespread plundering and corruption by the ruling party leaders.
Mosharraf said people sent out a message from the rally that they don’t want to get deceived by this regime anymore by allowing it to hang onto power by resorting to vote robbery.
He said this government fears BNP and those who talk about democracy as it is a fascist regime. “That’s why they don’t want to allow us to hold democratic programmes.”
The BNP leader criticised the barbaric attack on their party leaders and workers, raid on their central office and arrest of party leaders and activists. “The government made all-out efforts to foil our rally. But people foiled their all plots.”
He thanked the party leaders and activists for making the rally a huge success with their massive participation in it by defying all obstacles, plots, repressive acts and intimidation.
These points are for the restoration of the democratic process and these are the points of the country’s people, not only of BNP.
Tens of thousands of people from the capital and different parts of the country joined the rally and the crowd spilt over several square kilometres around the rally venue.
All 7 BNP MPs resign
Before joining the rally, the party’s all seven MPs resigned from the Parliament by sending their resignation letter through email.
What the BNP leaders said at the rally
BNP standing committee member Iqbal Hasan Mahmud Tuku said lakhs of people joined the rally as they want to get rid of the fascist misrule of the current regime.
He alleged that the government has been trying to hang onto power by suppressing the opposition using law enforcers as it lost the ground beneath its feet.
Another BNP standing committee member Dr Abul Moyeen Khan said the presence of tens of thousands of people in this rally has once again proved it is not possible to suppress the masses by resorting to brutal repressive acts.
He said the entire world now knows Awami League holds the day’s voting at night. “We want to get rid of it. We will surely restore the voting rights and the people’s ownership of the country through a strong movement.”
BNP standing committee member Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury said the government enforced a hartal in the capital while the ruling party cadres are picketing with arms to stop the mass wave of people towards the rally, but they miserably failed.
He said the country’s people gave a verdict for the restoration of the caretaker government for holding the next polls under it. “We’ll execute this verdict at any cost, even by sacrificing blood and lives.”
Another BNP standing committee member Selima Rahman said the government tried to spread panic among the people by resorting to repressive acts, killing party activists, raiding party office and arresting many leaders and activists, including party Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, but they failed to do so.
“People participated in this rally without any fear. They are not afraid of any repressive act. People have awakened and they will ensure the fall of this regime through a movement,” she said.
BNP standing committee member Gayeshwar Chandra Roy said their party was not permitted to hold the rally at Nayapaltan on the pretext of public suffering. “But they kept the road shut for five days, causing the public suffering as they hardly care about people and their problems.”
Referring to Prime Minister’s recent remark that people do not trust the thieves of votes, he said,” There’s only one vote thief in Bangladesh which is Awami League and its leader is Sheikh Hasina.”
Former national parliament speaker and BNP standing committee member Jamiruddin Sircar said the caretaker government system must be restored to restore the election system and people’s voting rights and democracy.
BNP Dhaka north city unit convener Amanullah Aman who presided over the rally urged the party leaders and workers to return to their respective homes and destinations peacefully after the end of the programme.
BNP on September 27 announced a series of public rallies in 10 divisional cities to denounce the price hike of daily essentials and fuels, the death of five party men in previous police action in Bhola, Narayanganj, Munshiganj and Jashore, and to ensure the freedom of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia.
The party has already arranged rallies in Chattogram, Mymensingh, Khulna, Rangpur, Barishal, Faridpur, Sylhet, Cumilla and Rajshahi braving various obstacles and transport strikes.
BNP has long been demanding that the next general election be held under a caretaker government, not under any political government — a demand sharply rejected by the ruling Awami League as the constitution does not allow it to happen.