BNP, allies call general strike for SundayStaff Correspondent
The Bangladesh Nationalist Party-led opposition alliance on Friday announced a countrywide dawn-to-dusk general strike for Sunday to protest against a fresh round of price hike of fuel oils.
BNP spokesperson Tariqul Islam at a press conference at the party’s central office announced the 6:00am-6:00pm shutdown.
He said the alliance had been forced to call the hartal to register its protest at the government’s ‘unilateral and autocratic decision’ ignoring the demand of the people of all strata not to increase the fuel prices.
‘The fresh price hike of fuel oils will increase the sufferings of the common people,’ the BNP spokesperson said.
Tariqul said fuel oil prices had been hiked five times during the tenure of the incumbent government, adding that the record increase in the prices of all kinds of fuel oil would adversely impact the national economy.
He said that the national production would suffer and
cost of living would go up further due to the latest fuel price increase.
Tarikul dismissed the government’s claims that the price hike of fuel oils on international market had forced it to make the decision, saying that the international market remained ‘stable’.
He said the government had been earning profits from earlier rise in the prices of petrol, octane and diesel and latest price increase would add to the profit.
The BNP spokesperson said the government did not specifically mention in what sector the surplus profit would be spent.
Tariqul alleged that the government was extracting the money from the people to give subsidy to the costly electricity generated from quick rental power plants which, he said, were given to Awami League leaders, ministers, lawmakers and their relatives and businessmen linked to the ruling party.
He said even wood and furniture traders OTOBI were given the Quick Rental Power Plants.
Tk 30,000 crore to Tk 40,000 crore was being taken out of the pockets of the people to protect the relatives of the ruling party leaders pushing the economy to the brink of disaster, he alleged.
The BNP leader claimed that the hartal had been called for the interest of the common people and farmers and macro-economy. He sought people’s cooperation to make the strike successful.
Asked whether politics was headed for confrontation because of the opposition’s hartals and the ruling party’s taking to the street, Tariqul said they did not believe in politics of confrontation.
‘But if the government wants confrontation, it would happen,’ he added.
Before the announcement of the hartal, a meeting of the leaders of the ‘18-party’ alliance was held at the BNP office with Tariqul Islam in the chair.
Leaders of BNP and its allies, including Barkatulla Bulu, Abdus Salam, Shirin Sultana and Abdul Latif Nezami, were present at the press conference.
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