BNP yesterday hailed the youth movement at the capital's Shahbagh, but said repeated chanting of a particular slogan from the podium at the venue had created confusion in the public mind about neutrality of the movement.
Without mentioning the slogan “Joy Bangla”, the main opposition party said, “Questions and serious confusion have arisen about neutrality of the [Shahbagh] gathering due to chanting of a slogan that was used during the Liberation War but lost its general acceptability for being made too much partisan in the post-independence years.”
The observations came in a press statement endorsed by the BNP standing committee at an emergency meeting in the early hours of Monday.
Chaired by party chief Khaleda Zia at her Gulshan office, the meeting discussed in detail the youth movement, its future direction and possible impact, insiders said.
In the statement, BNP criticised the prime minister's remarks in parliament on Monday, saying she “urged the judges to award capital punishment to the war criminals considering the expectation of the people while her responsibility as head of government is to ensure justice in all sorts of crimes including crimes against humanity”.
“If the judges cannot independently deliver verdicts based on their evaluation of the arguments and evidence, then the entire judicial process will become questionable. It's contrary to the rule of law and justice,” the statement continued.
“Though the gathering is claimed to be a neutral one, it is gradually becoming clear that followers of a particular political party are trying to wrest control of the movement.”
The party assured people that if voted to power, it would ensure complete independence of the judiciary, and fair and impartial trial for crimes against humanity; offences like killings of Bishwajit Das and journalist couple Sagar-Runi; and Padma bridge graft and share market, Hall-Mark and Destiny scams.
The statement observed the movement could have been more glorified had the youths also raised their voice against extra-judicial killings, forced disappearances, human rights violations and the government's corruption and other misdeeds.
It further said, “People of the country are now in a movement demanding an acceptable election with the participation of all parties under a non-party and neutral government. So, we all expect the new generations will play an important role in saving democracy and maintaining its continuation.”