Jatiya Oikyafront chief Dr Kamal Hossain on Tuesday called upon people to stand up strongly against the current government to realise their demands and take back the ownership of their country.
Speaking at a public rally of the Jatiya Oikyafront at Suhrawardy Udyan, he also urged people to get ready to guard polling stations alongside casting their votes to ensure a fair and credible election.
“It can’t be accepted in anyway what is happening in the country. The rule of law is being violated as people are being arrested and jailed as per whims… the constitution is also being completely ignored due to the abuse of power,” he said.
Dr Kamal further said, “People must stand up strongly to get rid of it. We’ve got united and will remain so, and take decisions unitedly to ensure a free and fair election in the country and remove unjust from it. You (people) are the owners of the country. You need to wake up to establish your ownership.”
He said the country’s people must play a role in ensuring a fair and acceptable election. “We all must guard the polling stations unitedly and also cast our votes. Guarding polling centres means guarding the independence… independence becomes meaningless if there’s no fair election.”
The Oikyafront chief also urged all to take a vow from the rally to remain united and carry out a strong movement to ensure a fair election, protect people’s voting rights and the country’s independence. “People will get the ownership of the country back through a credible election.”
He said the way opposition leaders and activists are being arrested and harassed everywhere in the country that cannot be accepted.At the beginning of his address, the Oikyafront chief demanded the release of BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia and other political prisoners.
He alleged that there is now no rule of law in the country as the laws are being applied in different ways for the opposition and the ruling party men. “The way people are getting arrested and harassed it can’t be continued in an independent country. An unelected government can’t do it. It’s a great offence and they (govt) must be responsible for it someday.”
Dr Kamal said though the government had pledged to hold a fair and credible election soon after the January-5 one, it has spent five years without fulfilling its commitment. “The word of this government has no value of even a coin.”
He greeted people for joining the rally braving various obstacles and barriers. “It’s demonstrated you’ve come here to perform your responsibility as the owners of the country.”Dr Kamal said the government had tried to obstruct people from joining the rally by stopping buses, roads and creating other obstacles. “But, it has now been proved the country’s people don’t bow down to any barrier.”
In his speech, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said the government must accept their demands for freeing their chairperson Khaleda Zia, dissolution of parliament and the resignation of the government to hold a credible election under a non-party admiration. “We hope the good sense will prevail upon you to accept our demands for the sake of democracy and nation.”
He said though the Prime Minister during the recent talks with the Oikyafront leaders said the opposition workers would not be arrested, police are constantly arresting their leaders and activists. Fakhrul urged the government to stop such arrest. “Or else, we’ll defeat the government and realise our seven-point demand through a movement together with people.”
He said they will launch a road march towards Rajshahi on November 8 and hold a rally there on November 9 if the Election Commission announces the schedule for the next general election on November 8.Fakhrul said they will also hold rallies in Khulna and Barishal later. Without giving the date, he also announced to march on foot towards Nirbachon Bhaban in the city. The rally activities formally started around 1:30pm on Tuesday with recitation from the holy Quran.
It is the third rally of the Oikyafront as the alliance held rallies in Sylhet and Chattogram on October 24 and 27 respectively.Thousands of leaders and activists of the BNP holding placards, banners and portraits of its founder Ziaur Rahman, chairperson Khaleda Zia and acting chairman Tarique Rahman started gathering at the rally venue since 11am.
The Oikyafront’s seven-point demand includes installation of a neutral interim government, dissolution of parliament, reconstitution the Election Commission, release of all the political prisoners, deployment of army and cancellation of the move to use Electronic Voting Machines (EVMS) for holding the next polls in fair and acceptable manner.