Vol. 5 Num 1112 Tue. July 17, 2007  
Front Page

Joy vows to wage movement at home, abroad
They cannot suppress us, says Rehana

Former prime minister Sheikh Hasina's son Sajeeb Wazed Joy and younger sister Sheikh Rehana consider her arrest part of a 'conspiracy' and protested this.

Joy vowed to wage a movement and create public opinion worldwide to free her.

He said the arrest of his mother is part of a conspiracy by the caretaker government to remain in power for an indefinite period.

"This government thinks it cannot stay in power for an indefinite period unless it removes her (Hasina) from political arena," he told The Daily Star over telephone from the US where he lives.

Joy termed the case against his mother false and fabricated. "I strongly protest her arrest. Awami League leaders and activists across the world are united, and we will wage a movement and create public opinion to free her. We will contact government of the US as well as of other countries for this."

Asked if they will go for legal actions, Joy said the AL will surely take to legal fight. He however expressed doubts about its success saying, "There is no rule of law in Bangladesh now. There are many extortionists there but the government is not arresting them."

He mentioned that he had talks with her mother before her arrest. " I told her my grandfather (Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman) was also arrested by the then Pakistani regime but it could do no any harm to him."

Recalling the historic speech of Bangabandhu on March 7 in 1971, Joy said, "Our movement now is for building Bangladesh and establishing democracy there. Sheikh Hasina is the only person now who can take the lead in it."

Asked what he will do while her mother is in politics, he said he will do whatever is needed for the country.

"I have not decided yet," Joy said when asked if he will come to Bangladesh.

Rehana said any conspiracy against Hasina would not succeed and she would return to the people.

The case filed against her sister is false and the way the Father of the Nation's daughter was arrested was humiliating, Rehana said from the US when contacted over telephone yesterday.

Rehana, now in the US to stay with Hasina's daughter Sayma Wazed Putul who gave birth to a baby a few days back, said, "Bangladesh will never be like Pakistan... This is Bangladesh of Joy Bangla."

Putul is very worried over the arrest of her mother and has become sick, she said.

"The people are with us... They (government) cannot suppress us just as (Pakistani) military rulers could not suppress the Father of the Nation ... Agortola conspiracy case (against him) is an example, " Rehana said.

Terming Hasina a patriotic leader, she also said, "We have left the matter to the people and almighty Allah. And she (Hasina) will return to the people by foiling all conspiracies."

"Bangabandhu sacrificed his life for the nation. He did not bow down even facing threats of being hanged. So, this is usual that his daughter will also speak for the people," Rehana said, regretting that they are facing problems in independent Bangladesh.

"On the one hand, they (government) are talking of recognising Bangabandhu as Father of the Nation and on the other hand, they arrest his daughter."

She went on, "They (security personnel) have ransacked the house (Hasin's residence Sudha Sadan)...What were they looking for? ... We have come to know that they searched for money. "

They tried to destroy Bangabandhu's family in 1975 and efforts are on again to do the same, Rehana alleged. "How much more we have to suffer as daughters of the Father of the Nation, which is our greatest identity. Our family faced the same fate in 1971.

But shall we face that even now?" she questioned.

Asked about the allegations against Hasina, she said the government started behaving with her differently when she started speaking for rights of the people.

"They (government) should prove in a transparent process, if they can, that the allegations brought against her are true " she threw a challenge.

Demanding elections and people rights, as her sister did, cannot and should not be the reasons for one's arrest. Such actions are beyond imagination in other civilised and democratic countries, she said.

"We will face the case (against Hasina) in court," she said. Her only task now is to get her sister released so that she could work for welfare of the people.