Vol. 4 Num 320 Fri. April 23, 2004  
Front Page

No criminalisation of politics if voted back to power
Hasina tells rally

Blaming the government for patronising hooligans, criminals and killers, opposition leader Sheikh Hasina yesterday said she would stop criminalisation of politics if voted back to power.

Hasina called upon the people to stand united and 'topple' the BNP-Jamaat coalition government, the way they did so in 1996, if they want to eliminate corruption and terrorism, restore peace and stability, curb price spirals, establish the rule of law in the country.

"But the days are not far off when the people will throw this oppressive government out of power and establish a people's government," said Hasina.

The Awami League president was addressing a huge public meeting at Narsingdi Stadium in the afternoon, organised by Narsingdi district AL to demand resignation of the government.

The whole of the stadium was packed with people while the streets leading to the stadium were filled with joyous party leaders and workers. Awami League workers here brought out a horse procession attracting public attention in town.

On her way to Narsingdi from Dhaka, Hasina attended three wayside rallies at Pubail Mirerbazar, Kaliganj RRN Pilot High School playground and bus-station road in Ghorashal of Palash. The gathering at Kaliganj turned into a huge public meeting.

Amid clapping and slogans against the government, Hasina alleged the alliance government could give nothing to the people but price hike of essentials, terrorism, corruption, repression, political vengeance, false cases and violation of human rights.

"This government has no right to rule anymore as people have expressed their no-confidence in them. They do not want to see them in power," the AL chief said, adding that she would return jobs of the qualified government officials retrenched during the reign of this regime.

Referring to AL front organisations' 'Hawa Bhaban' gherao programme in the capital on Wednesday, Hasina said the government put the whole of Dhaka City 'under a siege to protect the centre of corruption and terrorism'.

The ex-PM questioned how long this government would be able to cling to power with the help of "armed police and terrorists".

"Only one threat from my general secretary Abdul Jalil made them have a knee jerk. The months of Bhadra, Aswin and Kartik are still ahead," she said.

Referring to the arms haul in Chittagong on April 2, Hasina said the prime minister must answer from where such huge cache of weapons came.

The opposition leader alleged repression by alliance cadres crossed all limits of tolerance as they tried to destroy Awami League. "But, Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, I tell you that…Yahia Khan could not destroy this party and you also can try and see whether you can destroy Awami League," she said.

The AL president said the coalition closed down industries one after another while "the family members of the prime minister" established industries abroad, leaving a huge number of people unemployed here.

Chaired by Advocate Asaduzzaman, the meeting was also addressed by Zillur Rahman MP, Abdul Jalil MP, Obaidul Kader, Akhteruzzaman, Rajiuddin Raju MP, Momtaj Hossain, Nurul Islam, Mohammad Ali, Ahsanullah Master MP, Meher Afroj Chumki, AFM Bahauddin Nasim, Sohel Taj MP and Lokman Hossain.