BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Wednesday alleged that the filing of cases against The Daily Star editor Mahfuz Anam demonstrates that there is a ‘problem of free thinking’ in the country.“Newspapers are writing BNP is in a crisis. But, BNP is not alone in crisis. The filing of 37 cases against Mahfuz Anam has exposed that it’s not only BNP’s crisis. Rather, it’s a crisis of free thinking. It’s a crisis of speaking the truth and raising voice without any fear,” he said.
Fakhrul came up with the remarks awhile speaking at a programme at Dhaka Reporters’ Unity arranged by Mayor MA Mannan Mukti Parishad, demanding that the Gazipur City Mayor be released from jail.
Mannan was arrested from the city’s Baridhara area on February 11, 2015 in connection with street violence.
Mentioning that criticism of the government is usual in a democratic system, the BNP leader said, “But, now nothing can say or write against the government. A sedition case is being filed if any one says or writes anything against the government.”
Fifty-five cases, including 12 of sedition and 43 of defamation, were filed against Mahfuz Anam as of Tuesday for publishing reports based on information fed by intelligence agencies against Sheikh Hasina during the 2007-2008 tenure of the last caretaker government.
He criticised the government for filing a sedition case against BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia over her comment on the number of the country’s Liberation War martyrs, saying the government has taken a project to weaken BNP.
Accusing the government of establishing a totalitarian role in the country, the BNP leader said people’s all rights have been snatched while democracy has been obliterated.
Fakhrul urged people from all walks of life to raise their voices against the government’s misdeeds and for restoration of their rights. Or else, he cautioned, no will be able to escape government repression and harassment.
The BNP leader said though they know it very well that the government will manipulate the upcoming union parishad polls using the administration, BNP is going to join it to reach out to people and prove it again that no fair election is ‘possible under the current regime’.
“The government has initiated an election project. They will hold an election and capture everything by force to say people how popular Awami League is,” he observed.
Fakhrul warned that the government will not be able to cling to power for long by misleading people.