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New platform launched to ‘restore democracy’
Nagorik Oikya Convener Mahmudur Rahman Manna announcing a new platform on Monday. Photo. UNB

New platform launched to ‘restore democracy’

Dhaka, Dec 31 – ‘Ganotantra Uddhar Andolon’, a new platform of opposition parties, was launched on Monday in the city with an objective to ‘restore democracy’ in the country. Nagorik Oikya Convener Mahmudur Rahman Manna came up with the announcement at a rally in front of Matsya Bhaban marking the 1st anniversary of the 11th parliamentary election.
Leaders of different opposition political parties and civil society members took part in the rally, registering their protest against the last general election held on December 30, 2018.
Activists of different parties, including BNP, participated in the programme holding the national flag and black flags. They chanted various slogans demanding the resignation of the government and a fresh national election.
“We’ve launched a new organisation Ganotantra Uddhar Andolon. It’s not a platform all, not that of only Nagorik Oikya, BNP or any other party. That’s why internationally renowned photographer Shahidul Alam and Dhaka University professors Asif Nazrul and CR Abrar joined this programme to restore people’s rights,” he said
Manna said they want to wage a strong movement together with people of all walks of life to ‘restore democracy’ in the country.
He urged all to come forward and form committees in all localities for the ‘restoration’ of democracy. “The sooner we can do it, the sooner we’ll be able to show the government two consecutive yellow cards.”
Manna said they want to move forward cautiously so that they can ensure the fall of the government through uniting the country’s people. “We’re taking a vow to carry out our struggle until we achieve the victory.”
Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD) president ASM Abdur Rob said this government must go as its all ways to stay in power are getting shut. “Now you decide whether you’ll quit in a decent or indecent way.”
He alleged that Awami League wants to hang onto power even if they have to sell the country. “This is a killer, terrorist, robber, repressive and liar regime. I pray to Allah so that I won’t have to die before the fall of this government.”
ASM Rob alleged that Awami leaders siphoned off lakhs of crore of taka abroad by indulging in widespread plundering and corruption. “We must resist and oust them.”
Prof Asif Nazrul said the government has restricted the freedom of peaceful assembly, association and expression after depriving people of their voting rights.
He said the ruling party and their associate bodies regularly hold rallies without taking any permission from the police, but opposition parties are not allowed to hold any rally. “Democracy means everyone can express their opinion and exercise right to franchise independently, and no-one has any right to snatch people’s rights.”
Mentioning that Bangladesh’s election system is part of its constitution, Asif said making this election system a laughingstock is tantamount to an act of treason.
The DU professor said he joined the programme expressing solidarity with people protesting the deprivation of their rights by the government.
He urged all to continue the movement for the restoration of democracy until it succeeds.
Photographer Shahidul Alam said the government has stolen the votes of many people, “I’m not a politician. I’m least bothered about who is forming the government, but I want it to be an elected one.”
He said he wants to get back that Bangladesh for which lakhs of people had waged the Liberation War and made supreme sacrifices. “I think if we take to the streets imbued with the spirit of truth and fairness, we’ll get back that Bangladesh. A few people can’t snatch Bangladesh from us.”
Alam said he dreams of a Bangladesh where people of all walks of life can express their opinion freely. “We can’t enjoy our rights for some vested interest groups of people.”- UNB