BNP blames government’s negligence for Sitakunda depot fire

BM Container Depot owners should be charged with murder, says senior BNP leader Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir

BNP’s standing committee has blamed the government’s negligence and incapability for the deadly fire at BM Container Depot in Sitakunda.

“Our meeting thinks the government's negligence, lack of coordination and incompetence are responsible for the horrific accident at BM Container Depot in Sitakunda,” said BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Tuesday.

Speaking at a press conference at BNP chairperson’s Gulshan office on the outcomes of a virtual meeting of BNP standing committee members held on Monday night, he also said all-pervasive corruption, lack of accountability and incapability of the government have resulted in so many deaths and colossal damage.

File Photo of BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir Rajib Dhar/Dhaka Tribune

The BNP leader said there are some rules and regulations and monitoring authorities to prevent such incidents and accidents. “Unfortunately, no one monitors these. Those who have the responsibility to ensure coordination and take the official concerned to the task are not properly discharging their duties. That is why these accidents are happening."

Since the government has no accountability to people and parliament, he said, government-backed officials and the different authorities concerned are working as per their wish without being accountable to the government.

"The state is not functioning and its various institutions are not working. I often say that it has become a failed state. Because the state is not functioning, the machinery is not functioning and no one is accountable for what they are doing. That is why this situation has now been created.”

He said a government having accountability to people is now necessary to get Bangladesh back on the right track.

Fakhrul said the BNP standing committee meeting demanded the immediate formation of an investigation committee comprising neutral experts from the relevant fields to unearth the main reasons behind the fire incident and identify those responsible for it.

He also called upon the government to bring the culprits to be identified by the investigation to justice and ensure adequate compensation for the family members of those killed and injured.

Referring to the report on the non-renewal of the BM Container Depot licence, the BNP leader said murder charges should be brought against its owners.

Fakhrul said the standing committee entrusted its member Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury with the responsibility to stand by the families of the victims and the injured in the blaze.

Restoration of Odhikar’s registration

He said the standing committee strongly condemned and protested the cancellation of registration of the rights body Odhikar by the NGO Affairs Bureau of the Prime Minister’s Office.

"The meeting believes that such a move by the government will hamper the efforts of non-governmental organizations to protect human rights. The government's tendency to violate human rights will also increase and the incidents of enforced disappearances, illegal detentions, extrajudicial killings, violence against women and children, and human rights violations against religious minorities will also rise,” the BNP leader said.

He demanded immediate withdrawal of the decision to cancel the registration of Odhikar.

False campaign against Zia, Tarique

Fakhrul alleged that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s son Sajeeb Wazed Joy spread lies by giving a post on social media with a “fabricated” quote from former president Abu Sadat Mohammad Sayem's book titled “At Bangabhaban: Last Phase”.

He also slammed Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Qauder for his comment that BNP acting chairman Tarique Rahman is a foreign national for allegedly taking foreign citizenship.

“Tarique Rahman is a Bangladeshi citizen by birth and has not applied for citizenship of any other country… Mr Quader's statement is completely baseless, fabricated and motivated with low political purposes,” Fakhrul said.

He said Quader should withdraw his false statement and apologize to the nation.

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