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Khaleda tells sit-in that agitation to start if EC fails Ctg city polls test; warns govt of dire consequences if it skips democratic path, cautions intelligences against 'oppression'; says no pardon for Fakhruddin, Moeen, few others..


BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia yesterday warned of launching a countrywide mass movement against the government from the polling day if any rigging occurs in the Chittagong City Corporation Election.
The CCC polls will be a real test for the Election Commission to prove its neutrality, said Khaleda, the leader of the opposition, at a mass sit-in organised by BNP on the premises of Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh in the capital.
She said the government must get back to the path to democracy and follow the rule of law; otherwise it will face dire consequences.
"We won't tolerate any more oppression by the government. If attacked, we will retaliate," she said.
The former premier said they would have to go for tough programmes if the government does not change its attitude.
Khaleda warned the intelligence agencies and Bangladesh Television (BTV) about playing a partisan role.
She also criticised human rights organisation for keeping silent about the "repression on the opposition."
The mass sit-in, the first anti-government programme since the December 2008 election, was organised to protest against "the government's interference in judiciary" and "appointment of incompetent and controversial persons as justices."
BNP's alliance partner Jamaat-e-Islami, Bangladesh Jatiya Party, Islami Oikya Jote and a number of like-minded political parties, professional bodies and personalities participated in the programme for the first time after January 2007.
Hundreds of supporters of the opposition took position on the road in front of the Engineers' Institution causing severe traffic congestion in the area.
They chanted anti-government slogans during the four-hour sit-in that began at 10:00am.
Loudspeakers and large screens had been installed at different points from Shahbagh to Kadamful Chattar.
Calling for the resignation of the election commission, the BNP chief said it created a rift in BNP during the tenure of the last caretaker government.
Khaleda said the overzealous members of intelligence agencies, who are arresting and torturing opposition activists, will face grave consequences for their partisan role.
"You [the members of intelligence agencies] may have to face remand one day. Be alert and careful," said the former prime minister.
She again came down hard on former chief adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed and former army chief Moeen U Ahmed.
The leader of the opposition said all [in the army] except Moeen, and a few others along with Fakhruddin, will be pardoned.
"I have no grievance against the army as only a few people including Moeen Uddin committed crimes. If you [army personnel] give deposition that Moeen and a few others had committed the offences, you will be pardoned."
Khaleda protested against the shutdown of Amar Desh and the arrest of its acting Editor Mahmudur Rahman.
Media houses are being shut for telling the truth, she said.
The BNP chairperson said if BNP is voted back to power, those sacked by the present government will get their jobs back while the "partisan cadres" being appointed now will lose their jobs.
"The government has taught us this lesson and we will follow it in future," she said.
The BNP chairperson said she placed a budget proposal for the good of the present government that termed it unconstitutional.
"The government is violating the constitution time and again," Khaleda alleged.
Referring to the 1986 elections, she asked, "Wasn't it a violation of the constitution when they convened parliament at the South Plaza of Sangsad Bhaban after losing the polls, stage-managed by the then military dictator HM Ershad?"
The leader of the opposition urged judges to maintain neutrality, saying they need not worry, as people will be with them if they ensure justice.
She said if voted to power again, they would set up a Supreme Court secretariat.
Khaleda alleged that BTV telecast "false" news about her and her sons.
"None will be able to protect those who are doing these against me and my sons."
Criticising human rights bodies, the former premier said they created uproar in Dinajpur over the murder of a girl when BNP was in power. But now they remain silent about the repression on the opposition by the ruling party.
"I want to know the reason behind their silence."
She demanded immediate release of Mahmudur Rahman, BNP leaders Lutfozzaman Babar, Abdus Salam Pintu and Nasiruddin Pintu.
Khaleda Zia called upon all to make the June 27 hartal a success.
She said the hartal was not called for the benefits of her party or herself but for bringing an end to people's sufferings.
BNP leaders Khandaker Delwar Hossain, Moudud Ahmed, Shawkat Mahmud, Jamaat leaders Matiur Rahman Nizami and Ali Ahsan Muhammad Mojaheed, Andaleeve Rahman Partha of BJP, Shafiul Alam Prodhan of Jagpa, among others, spoke.
Opposition Chief Whip Zainul Abdin Farrooque and Jubo Dal president Moazzem Hossain Alal moderated the programme.
Source: The Daily Star
Date: 10/06/2010

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