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Tuesday, December 4, 2012
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No rally? So Jamaat calls hartal for today

BNP extends moral support

Obstructed to hold rallies, Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami yesterday called a countrywide hartal for today in a desperate bid to fight the government on the street.

Hours after the announcement, the main opposition BNP late last night extended moral support to its main ally's hartal.

In a press release, BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said Jamaat was a registered political party as per the existing law. It had called countrywide dawn-to-dusk hartal in protest of the government obstruction to their peaceful rally, which was logical and democratic.

“Against such backdrop, Bangladesh Nationalist Party is extending its moral support to the hartal called by Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami,” said the press release.

Meanwhile, in a pre-hartal showdown, Jamaat men yesterday set fire to a vehicle and vandalised four more in the capital's Jatrabari area. Jamaat activists also clashed with police in Dinajpur. The clash left one Jamaat man dead.

The party was supposed to hold rallies in the capital and in some other districts yesterday afternoon to press the government to release the top Jamaat leaders facing trials on charges of crimes against humanity.

The hartal announcement came around 12:10 pm through a press release signed by Jamaat's acting secretary general Shafiqur Rahman. In the statement, all units of Jamaat had been called upon to enforce the strike.

“We are left with no other choice since we were denied permission for today's [Monday's] rally,” said Shafiqur Rahman.

Jamaat sources said the party's senior leaders had instructed the grassroots-level leaders and workers to take preparation for making the hartal a success, even if it needed to defy police obstructions.

“We have been asked not to leave the streets in the face of police action,” Amiruzzaman, chief of Jamaat Chittagong City (north) unit, told The Daily Star yesterday evening.

Meanwhile, the announcement of hartal triggered concern of street violence, as the home minister had directed police to take action against Jamaat men to foil their programme.

Although being a key component of the BNP-led opposition alliance, Jamaat has alone been taking to the streets to press their core demands -- cancellation of, what they had termed, “farcical war crimes trial” and release of their party high-ups.

In their statement, Jamaat, however, cited restoration of the caretaker government system, price hike of essentials, deterioration of law and order, misrule of the government and attack on the values of Islam as the issues for the hartal.

Jamaat is also agitating along with the opposition alliance that had already declared a series of agitation programmes for December, including a nationwide road blockade on the 9th.

The party leaders yesterday at a meeting of opposition alliance's senior leaders had sought BNP's support for the hartal, said Shawkat Hossain Nilu, chief of National People's Party, a component of the BNP-led alliance.

Liberal Democratic Party, Islami Oikya Jote, Islamic Party, National Democratic Party, Jatiya Ganotantrik Party, Bangladesh Labour Party and Khelafat Majlish -- all components of the BNP-led alliance -- had extended their support to Jamaat's hartal, said Hamdullah Mehedi, secretary general of Labour Party.

Contacted, MA Rashid Pradhan, secretary general of Islamic Party, and Shahadat Hossain Selim, joint secretary of Liberal Democratic Party, confirmed their solidarity with Jamaat.

With the party's top leaders, including its chief and secretary general, now in detention and facing charges of crimes against humanity, Jamaat has been going through the toughest time since its resumption of activities in Bangladesh after 1975.

The party's central office in the capital has been kept closed since the police raid on September 19 last year, after its violent protest against the crackdown on its high-ups.

Since, some mid-level central leaders have been running the party over telephone and by issuing press releases. Reportedly, they have also been meeting local party leaders of different areas in the capital to keep them actively involved in party programmes.

Jamaat insiders said the grassroots units of the party have been working to gear up political activities and boost the morale of local leaders and activists.

They said under the cover of social, cultural and educational programmes like study circles, discussions and Quran recitation competitions, they had been preparing for a “proper time” to fight back the government.

Meanwhile, section 144 has been imposed in different districts including Sylhet, Noakhali, Feni and Bogra, as Jamaat, and Awami League and its associate bodies were set to hold rallies at the same place and same time yesterday.

In the capital, Jamaat men brought out sudden processions in some areas including Bhatara, Uttara and Badda.

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With the impending judgment against those involved in war crimes in 1971, it is not at all unnatural for the Jamaat to launch political protest movements. Rallies arranged by Jamaat should have been allowed which the government resisted by telling a lie that they did not receive any application seeking such permission. So, they called a countrywide hartal today from down to dusk. But the more striking feature is BNP's sudden face in support of those facing war crimes charges. So long, the party maintained a distance from Jamaat in the matter but no more. The decision is a bolt from the blue for many who ardently supported and believed in what the Chairperson said. It now appears that BNP has so far been hoodwinking the gullible people. This major paradigm shift has shaken the very foundation and ideology of the party shattering the confidence of millions. It has fallen into a deep precipice and it may not be easy to retrieve its popularity.

: Reaz Hassan

In terms of peoples support, Bangladesh Jamat-e-Islami is forth largest party in the country. They have all the constitutional rights which any other political party is enjoying. I am a regular reader of your newspaper, I did not go through any activity of the Jamaat which are not been practiced by other bigger parties when they demonstrate against the sitting government misrule. I, therefore, honestly believe that Jamaat should be allowed to do all the activities which other parties have also been allowed and government should not too their program undemocratically. It is people who should decide that Jamaat slogan in the matter is justified or not.

: Syed Hasan

Comments

  • narayan
    Tuesday, December 4, 2012 01:41 AM GMT+06:00 (139 weeks ago)

    Where is the editorial in support of fight for democracy?

  • rch
    Tuesday, December 4, 2012 01:43 AM GMT+06:00 (139 weeks ago)

    BNP is still eating from rotten hand ---why should younger generation vote for you?

  • Roni Rahman
    Tuesday, December 4, 2012 02:00 AM GMT+06:00 (139 weeks ago)

    On what legal, human, democratic and political law and principle Jamaat is being persecuted and blocked by the govt? Why should not the govt must be held accountable and sued for violating a legal political party's very fundamental right to assemble and rally? Today it is Jamaat and BNP that are under govt's unlawful persecution claws. Tomorrow it will be other parties and individual's turn. This should make every citizen very fearful of lack of rule of law and democracy.

  • Ginipig
    Tuesday, December 4, 2012 02:52 AM GMT+06:00 (139 weeks ago)

    Our political party thinks people of Bangladesh are gin pig of their experiment. They just want to fulfil their dreams to power, no matter if our children are giving their annual exam or preparing to sit in admission test. Shame to all political leaders who thought only for themselves.

  • Mortuza Huq
    Tuesday, December 4, 2012 04:45 AM GMT+06:00 (139 weeks ago)

    The whole nation should extend its moral support for today's hartal not to support Jamaat but to protest against government's undemocratic action.

  • MD.BASHIR
    Tuesday, December 4, 2012 07:42 AM GMT+06:00 (139 weeks ago)

    Today's hartal has not been called by the Jamaat-e-Islami. It has been called by the Home Minister. What would be the loss if he allowed making a rally by the Jamaat. I think Awami League should scrutinise whether he is working for the people of the country or for any particular group of people. He has proved that a bureaucrat can not be a politician and we the people are paying the heavy price.

  • Asad Zaman
    Tuesday, December 4, 2012 10:50 AM GMT+06:00 (139 weeks ago)

    BNP's moral support to Jamaat's hartal is only acceptable if the press release made it clear that the BNP does not support the Jamaat-Shibir's cruel culture of violence such as cutting tendon, beating policeman, stabbing and attempting to gouge out cop's eyes and to set him on fire etc.

  • Mortuza Huq
    Tuesday, December 4, 2012 11:34 AM GMT+06:00 (139 weeks ago)

    I have a feeling that the way The Daily Star titled this news is almost an editorial expression. However, I would like to see Mr Mahfuz Anam writes an editorial on this, showing how AL's actions are going against the will of the democracy loving people of Bangladesh. AL is fast losing its moral authority to claim as a democratic party and face the people asking for votes in a fair election. I still do not understand why AL had to declare war against the people of Bangladesh in so many issues - caretaker government, Professor Younus, splitting DCC and the list goes on.

  • Shane
    Tuesday, December 4, 2012 04:24 PM GMT+06:00 (139 weeks ago)

    And people shake their head and wonder why this country is in such a mess. If the people of this country do not start acting like a civilised nation, Bangladesh will drown in it's self perpetuated voilence, corruption and mayhem.

  • Nazimuddin Ahmed
    Tuesday, December 4, 2012 06:13 PM GMT+06:00 (139 weeks ago)

    When will our political leaders wake up and start negotiating with opposition leaders for solutions to all problems before it's too late? They are just playing with the fate of poor people. It seems that the end game will be extremely violent because of the rigid leadership.


 

 


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