Dr Kamal Hossain has urged the people to stand firm against wrongdoings as he believes what is happening in Bangladesh cannot be accepted. “This country does not belong to any empress or king. The people own the power,” he told the Jatiya Oikya Front alliance’s first rally in Dhaka on Tuesday since its inception on Oct 13.
The chief of the new alliance, which was formed ahead of the general elections, also asked its leaders and activists to make no compromise in continuing the movement against the government until the peoples right to vote is ensured.
“Independence becomes meaningless if elections are not held fairly,” he said.
The Oikya Front is scheduled to hold a second round of talks for fair polls with ruling Awami League chief Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday after the alliance found “no specific solution” to the issues it raised in the first round.
Its demands include release of BNP chief Khaleda Zia before holding the general election with a nonpartisan government in power.
Gono Forum chief Dr Kamal demanded release of Khaleda and all the prisoners of state in the beginning of his speech.
“Whats happening in the country is unacceptable. The rule of law is being violated. The people are being randomly put in jail. And (the government) speaks about democracy and constitution after doing these. The constitution is being fully violated to abuse power,” he said.
“Now we, the people, the owners of this country, must stand firm to survive,” he added, urging all to unite against wrongdoings.
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, who presided over the public meeting, announced fresh protest programmes.
The Oikya Front will organise a Rajshahi-bound march on Thursday if the government does not accept its demands, according to Mirza Fakhrul.
The BNP leader reminded his audience that the partys chief was undergoing treatment under the jail authorities supervision at the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, a few hundred metres away from the rally.
I dont know whether the peoples voice has reached her. I believe she is hearing us from there and asking us to march forward to free democracy and ensure victory,” he said.
Speaking about the dialogue, senior BNP leader Moudud Ahmed said they had got “nothing” in the first round.
“If the government does not reach a consensus through the talks, we will have no other alternative to hitting the street. You all be prepared to do so,” he said.
Leaders of the Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal-JSD, Krishak Sramik Janata League, Nagorik Oikya, and Jatiya Oikya Prokriya also spoke.
KSJL chief Abdul Kader Siddique, who joined the Oikya Front on Monday, said, “I havent joined the BNP, but the Oikya Front of Dr Kamal Hossain.”
The former Awami League leader, addressing the BNP leaders and activists, said, “If you want to win, forget the BNP until the elections. Stand firm under the umbrella of Jatiya Oikya Front.”
The decorated freedom fighter also claimed it was incorrect that the BNP was the first to appoint collaborators of the Pakistan army as ministers. “The Awami League had done it first,” he claimed.
“We had brought independence under the leadership of Bangabandhu at this Suhrawardy Udyan and we will restore democracy and free Khaleda Zia under Dr Kamal Hossains leadership,” he added.