Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus has expressed doubts whether the forthcoming national election in Bangladesh will be peaceful and urged everyone to ‘keep the doors to violence shut’.“The country is going through a bad period. There is confusion about whether the election will be held or not,” said Yunus, who had been a sever critic of the government ever since his ouster as the Grameen Bank’s Managing Director.
“We want a peaceful election participated by all political parties,” he said at a rally in Dhaka on Thursday.
Yunus claimed everyone was ‘worried’ over what could happen on Oct 25.
As per the Constitution, the election will be held some time between Oct 25 and Jan 24, 2014 under the supervision of the incumbent government and the Parliament will not stand dissolved.
“Will we be able to step out of home? Why is there so much of uncertainty in an independent country? Won’t we be able to cast ballots?” he asked.
The Nobel laureate, who attempts to float a political party had ended in smoke, issued his first statement on the country’s political situation in August.
“A free and fair election is not possible without a caretaker government. The national polls should be held with the participation of all political parties,” he had said backing up the BNP-led opposition alliance’s demand of a non-party caretaker body to supervise the polls.
The caretaker provision was scrapped through the 15th constitutional amendment.
The BNP has planned to hold a rally on Oct 25 in Dhaka apparently to press for the restoration of caretaker system.
BNP leader Sadeque Hossain Khoka has asked party activists to prepare for ‘armed resistance’ on that day.
Yunus said: “There’s still time. We don’t want to face a disaster. We don’t want to go through uncertainty. Make sure doors are not opened to violence.”
The former Grameen Bank MD also spoke on the government ‘attempts to overtake’ the institution.
“Women have established the bank and improved their living standards. They also brought Nobel prize for the country. The government now wants to take it away.”
He urged women to ‘save’ Grameen Bank.
“We will break the hands that would try to take it over,” he said.
He asked the women whether they would accept the government’s move to change the Grameen Bank ordinance into an Act. They said they would not.
Yunus, who had been the bank’s MD since its inception, was removed in March 2011 on the ground that he had crossed the age limit to remain in the post.
On Thursday, Yunus said women must come forward to ‘save’ the bank.
“They (women) have improved their lives. The Grameen Bank has brought the country a Nobel Prize, and now the government wants to take it over,” said Yunus.
He said his ‘tug of war’ with the government began because the latter was ‘trying’ to take over the bank that had 8.4 million women.
“The government has attacked me. We formed the bank for the poor.
“The government is saying whatever it likes against me …called me a blood-sucker, a grafter and a loan-shark.
“How can I be a usurer when I’m not the Grameen Bank’s owner?” he asked.
Yunus claimed Grameen’s interest rate was the lowest at 20 percent when the interest rate fixed by the government was 27 percent.
He said he could have owned the bank right at the beginning, if he had wanted to.
“Around 25,000 people are employed at the Grameen Bank and none of them had to bribe to get jobs. But the government is indifferent to real problems,” he said. – bdnews24.com