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'India has turned Bangladesh into their business district'

  • Published at 05:42 pm October 5th, 2019
Sultana kamal-National Heritage-Mahmud Hossain Opu
File photo: Advocate Sultana Kamal speaks at a press conference called by the National Committee for Saving the Sundarbans on Friday, June 28, 2019 Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

India must stop using their favour to manipulate Bangladesh for their selfish interests, Sultana Kamal said

Eminent human rights activist Advocate Sultana Kamal said, in exchange for their favour during the 1971 Liberation War, India has now turned Bangladesh into their own business district.

She made the remarks at a press conference organized by the National Committee for Saving the Sundarbans (NCSS), held at the Sagar Rooney auditorium of Dhaka Reporters Unity on Saturday.

"The outcome of the Liberation War could have been different if India did not help Bangladesh in every possible way. However, India must stop using this to manipulate us in order to achieve their selfish interests," she said.

She demanded the implementation of Unesco's requirements for the Sundarbans, banning all kinds of industrial construction in that area to save the world's largest mangrove forest.

Urging the government to cancel the construction of Rampal Power Plant, she said: "As a human rights activist, I know Bangladesh is a country with the cheapest labour,  but that should not give India any right to exploit our people, and the environment."

Sultana Kamal also advised the use of alternate ways, avoiding coal, in order to build power plants.

She said that according to a survey by The Economic Times, the Indian company National Thermal Power Corporation Limited (NTPC) has suspended all their coal based power projects in the next five years. However, NTPC did not show any interest in stopping their assistance in Rampal Power Plant's construction, even in the face of strong public opposition.

"This very act shows the nature of double standard by Indian companies against Bangladesh, which should not be accepted at all," Sultana Kamal added.

She kept on saying that an expert team of the World Heritage Committee is set to visit the Sundarbans, and submit an updated report about its condition to the World Heritage Committee of Unesco by February 2020.

If we still lag behind to save the world's largest mangrove forest, nothing can stop it from having a permanent spot on the list of World Heritage in Danger, she furthered.

"We all need to work together to save this precious forestland. Otherwise, it would be a matter of shame, and incompetence for the entire nation," Sultana Kamal said.

Member Secretary of NCSS Md Abdul Matin, committee members Ruhin Hossain Prince, and Sharif Jamil were also present at the conference.