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Dhaka Tribune

Khaleda summoned in sedition case

Update : 25 Jan 2016, 07:30 PM

A Dhaka court yesterday summoned BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia to appear before it on March 3 in a sedition case to explain her recent remarks doubting the actual number of Liberation War martyrs.

Supreme Court lawyer Momtaz Uddin Ahmed Mehedi, also a member of the executive body of Awami League, filed the sedition case with Dhaka Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Court seeking an arrest warrant against Khaleda Zia.

After recording the statement of the complainant, Metropolitan Magistrate Mohammad Rashed Talukder summoned Khaleda Zia to appear before the court on March 3.

The complainant’s counsel Advocate Sahara Khatun, also a former home minister, said the order was passed after sedition charges against Khaleda were taken into cognisance under sections 123 (A), 124 (A) and 505 of the penal code.

Soon after filling the case, Pro-BNP lawyers demonstrated on the premises of the CMM court protesting the acceptance of the sedition charges against Khaleda.

Md Sanaullah Miah, a counsel for Khaleda, told the Dhaka Tribune: “The case is politically motivated and it was filed to harass and malign Khaleda Zia in order to implement the government’s ill intention.

On December 21, Khaleda Zia raised questions about the actual number of Liberation War martyrs. Her comments drew widespread flak and sparked protest among pro-liberation quarters.

Two days after her comments, Momtaz, also a former secretary of Supreme Court Bar Association, sent a legal notice to Khaleda, asking her to apologise to the nation within seven days for her remarks.

As the BNP chief did not respond to the notice, Mehedi sought the Home Ministry’s approval last week to lodge the case, as government permission is a prerequisite for lodging a sedition case in accordance with the act. On January 21, Momtaz got his permission.

In the case, the complainant mentioned: “Khaleda Zia at a programme said there are controversies over how many were martyred in the Liberation War. There are also many books and documents on the controversies.

“Without naming Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Khaleda also said he did not want independence. Rather, he wanted to become the prime minister of Pakistan”, the complainant alleged in the case.

The complainant also said Khaleda’s remarks on Bangabandhu and the number of martyrs have violated the constitution and demeaned the ideology and spirit of the Liberation War, in which three million people sacrificed their lives; so this was tantamount to sedition.

Hours after the case, Barrister Mahbub Uddin Khokon, another counsel for Khaleda, claimed that there was nothing seditious in the BNP chief’s remark about martyrs.

He also urged Khaleda Zia to not appear before the court on March 3, mentioning that the case was a false case.

Meanwhile, terming the sedition case against Khaleda Zia as a mockery, BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said this was done just out of political vengeance to remove the BNP chief from politics. 

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