He spoke at a Jatiya Oikya Front rally in Chittagong on Saturday
Jatiya Oikya Front leader and President of Gono Forum, Dr Kamal Hossain, said on Saturday that the government will be held accountable for violating the constitution daily.
"Concede to our seven-point demand while there is still time. You [government] can’t even imagine the trial and punishment you will face if the demands are not met,” said Dr Kamal – one of the architects of the Constitution.
He was addressing a rally at Kazir Dewri area in Chittagong.
Jatiya Oikya Front's seven-point charter of demands includes holding the 11th general election under an impartial government, release of BNP chief Khaleda and other political prisoners from prison, dissolution of parliament before the announcement of an election schedule, resignation of the government, no electronic voting machines in the polls, and reformation of the Election Commission.
Dr Kamal said the Oikya Front had been repeatedly denied permission for its rallies, and both in Sylhet and Chittagong, the government had moved them to smaller venues.
"The government has been violating the Constitution on a daily basis. Holding a rally is a fundamental right, which is guaranteed by the Constitution.
“We wanted to hold the rally at Laldighi Maidan in Chittagong. However, we were denied permission and have been forced to hold the rally in such a cramped space," said Dr Kamal at the rally.
He warned those violating people's fundamental rights, saying they must face trial.
Speaking at a rally arranged by Oikya Front in front of the BNP office he said: “If you violate or ignore the people’s decision, you can’t even imagine the punishment you will get for it.”
He went on to say: "People are the owners of this state and the government is nothing but a servant of the people. They have taken it for granted that state power is their ancestral property. They are considering themselves as owners of the country. That's why they are clinging to power. People can make the impossible possible if they are united."
He said the government would also have to face trial for harassing people by implicating them in “false” cases, and criticized it for not releasing BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia from jail.
"There's nothing impossible to achieve when people get united as we have proved in the past – like during the Liberation War," he added. Dr Kamal also demanded the immediate release of Khaleda Zia.
The rally, which was the second political program aimed at reaching the public, started around 1:30pm and was presided over by Chittagong metropolitan unit BNP President Shahdat Hossain. BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD-Rab) President ASM Abdur Rab, and Nagorik Oikya Convener Mahmudur Rahman Manna, also addressed the rally.
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said the government’s fear had reached such heights that they are not even letting people hold a rally.
"We wanted to hold the rally at the Laldighi Maidan but were denied permission. We were given Kazir Dewri area to hold the rally with a set of 25 conditions,” he said.
"No autocratic government can hold on to power by keeping people in check. No amount of bullet or guns can protect an autocrat. Our party members, including Standing Committee member Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury, Organising Secretary Mahbuber Rahman Shamim, and Chittagong city unit Secretary Abul Hashem Bakkar, were arrested only to thwart today's rally. What are they so afraid of? "asked BNP's Secretary General.
"Awami League always preaches democracy and practices the opposite. People will not get on the broken boat if election is held in a free and fair manner," he added.
JSD President ASM Abdur Rab said the government has committed so many misdeeds that it would not find a way to escape. "We will not let you escape. You will have to face trial. You cannot announce a schedule for the 11th parliamentary election without holding talks with us," said Rab, who hoisted the Bangladesh national flag at Dhaka University on March 2, 1971.
BNP leader Dr Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain said: "The government resorted to all kinds of tricks to foil today's rally, but it was in vain. The seven-point demand is a charter to retrieve the rights to franchise. The government must ensure a level playing field for a participatory election. For this, the existing parliament should be dissolved."
BNP Standing Committee Member Moudud Ahmed accused the government of being intolerant and dictatorial.
"The right to vote, rule of law, independence of judiciary, and freedom of speech are now at stake under the present government. The newly formed alliance, Oikya Front, will overthrow the tyrannical government and restore democracy," he said.
Gonoshasthaya Kendra founder Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury said, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is now afraid of her own shadow.
He also urged everyone to unite under the leadership of Dr Kamal Hossain.
On October 13, the BNP, together with Dr Kama Hossain-led Jatiya Oikya Prokriya, JSD, and Nagorik Oikya, launched the Jatiy Oikya Front to press for their seven-point demand.
This was the second rally of the coalition formed on October 13. The maiden rally was organized in Sylhet on October 24.
Thousands of leaders and activists of the alliance’s member parties, carrying placards, banners, and festoons, started gathering at the rally venue in Chittagong since Saturday noon.
A huge number of law enforcement officials were also deployed around the rally venue to maintain law and order.