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Khaleda urges end to killings

Staff Correspondent

BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia addresses a press conference at the Westin Hotel in Dhaka on Tuesday. 
— New Age photo BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia addresses a press conference at the Westin Hotel in Dhaka on Tuesday. — New Age photo

The BNP chairperson, Khaleda Zia, on Tuesday urged an early end to ‘state terrorism’ marked with killing, disappearances and repression to eliminate the BNP-led alliance.
Khaleda said the fresh general elections should be held very soon under a non-party government to reinstate the democratic system.
Addressing a press conference at the Westin Hotel in the afternoon, she claimed that about 300 leaders and activists of her party and partners had been killed and had fallen victim to enforced disappearances in a month from December 26 to January 27 at the hands of the joint forces and Awami goons.
She demanded an action against perpetrators through fair investigations of the killings.
This was her second news conference after the national elections, held on January 5, that the BNP-led alliance boycotted.
She said intelligence agencies were being used as weapons at the instruction coming from outside to eliminate the ‘opposition parties and suppress the constitutional politics.’
She said that people of Bangladesh were not against any force of the state but the forces were pitted against people to protect the power of the ‘illegal government.’
She said that the BNP had information that most of the members of these forces were against carrying out ‘unlawful repression.’ She said that people would not sit idle for long against the ‘illegal rule. The opposition will not also be sitting idle.’
Asked whether her alliance would give any deadline for holding fresh general elections, Khaleda said that people wanted to see free and fair elections under a non-party government. ‘We want elections very soon.’
Asked whether it was a wrong decision of her alliance not to have taken part in in the January 5 elections, Khaleda said that the BNP-led alliance and people thought that the boycott of the elections was a right decision.
Asked about the BNP’s stand of not taking part in elections under the incumbent government and the Election Commission with her party leaders now contesting the upazila council elections, she said that upazila council elections were local government elections and any one could contest such elections.
Asked why the party’s leaders and activists did not take part in the march towards Dhaka for democracy on December 29, 2013, she said that the government had paralysed the country by enforcing blockade. She said that she had also been besieged in her house that time.
Khaleda said that leaders and activists of the BNP and its allies were in the city and neighbouring areas and ordinary people were ready to join it. ‘The city would have turned into a human sea had there been no obstruction for people to come down on the streets.’
In reply to another question, she said that they would take some time to get organised and go for further movement.
Asked about the ruling party’s condition for the BNP to part with Jamaat-e-Islami for dialogues, Khaleda said that it was for the BNP to decide who to keep with.
She said that once upon a time, Jamaat was with the Awami League. She said that the opposition had been repeatedly urged the ruling Awami League to begin dialogues.
She said that there was no reason to think that the BNP would be pressing for dialogue and consensus for an indefinite period. She asked the government to take steps before time would run out.
Khaleda urged the authorities concerned not to hold any festive programme on the day Asia Cup Cricket tournament would be inaugurated as ‘57 brilliant  army officers were killed in the BDR rebellion February 25, 2009.
She said that about 300 leaders and activists had been killed or had disappeared and the figure was based on information that had so far reached the BNP’s central office.
She said that 242 leaders and activists had been killed and 60 had fallen victim enforced disappearances. She, however, said that the actual figure could be higher.
She said that the ruling party was only deepening the crisis by adopting ill tactics for clinging to power by eliminating all rivals and democratic political forces.
In her speech that continued for about 50 minutes, Khaleda also mentioned reports of newspapers and human rights organisations on the dreadful situation of the country and killing, extrajudicial killing and enforced disappearances.
She said that BNP teams were investigating the attacks on religious minorities, especially houses and places of worship of the Hindu community.
She called the attention of all international human rights organisations, including United Nations, to such violation of human rights and killings and urged effective steps in this direction.

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