BNP will defy obstructions to movement until election

BNP leaders say this is the last fight, and it will be intense

Major opposition party BNP is set to intensify protests for holding the next election under a neutral government, even though legal cases have been filed against thousands of its activists across the country over violent clashes with police that resulted in the loss of several lives.

Members of the BNP top brass told Dhaka Tribune they see the run-up to the next general election as the last chance to fight against the ruling Awami League, adding that they would stay on the streets at all costs.

“The number of dead bodies will increase, the torture will also increase, but no one will leave the streets,” BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said.

“Our movement will continue with the demand that the government dissolve power and hand over power to a neutral election-time government. This is our last fight, and it will be intense. The more the government obstructs us, the more intense our movement will become,” he added.

Another senior leader of the party said the BNP was aware that strict instructions had been given to law enforcement agencies from the top level of the government to control BNP programs.

BNP leader and a reserved seat MP Barrister Rumin Farhana said: “The government is afraid of our movement after seeing the wave of public support. Along with that, there is international pressure. As a result, they are repeatedly obstructing our movement. They want to clear the streets by suing, murdering, and torturing.”

She claimed leaders and activists of the ruling Awami League and its affiliated organizations were attacking BNP activists, but the BNP would not relent regardless of the obstacles in front of them.

“We have embarked on this movement to ensure a fair election. Democracy is our main goal, and we will not stop even if there are more corpses,” she added.

On the other hand, Bangladesh Awami Jubo League Chairman Sheikh Fazle Shams Parash recently said: "From today we will stay in the field. We will respond to all the anarchy, terrorism, conspiracy and violence of BNP in the field.”

He alleged that BNP holds discussions in air-conditioned rooms all year, before causing anarchy and conducting arson when the election comes around.

Chattogram City unit BNP President Dr Shahadat Hossain alleged Awami League had sent their activists into the field to stop the wave of support for the BNP. 

BNP started the movement to protest against various issues, including rising market prices, extrajudicial killings, disappearances, murders, torture, and denial of the freedom of speech.

BNP Standing Committee Member Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury told the Dhaka Tribune: “Our only goal now is this movement. We have got the support of the people all over the country. Thousands of people participated in a union-level rally. We will continue this movement every day, ignoring police torture and cases.” 

Claiming that a hard movement has always resulted in the restoration of democracy, he said BNP has taken to the streets for a strong movement against all autocratic governments. 

Mid-level leaders of BNP alleged they have been unable to move freely outdoors over the past 13 years for various reasons. 

“The government saw this as weakness and tortured us more,” one leader said, seeking anonymity.

Another leader said: “There are 12 cases against me, and I have been shown as absconding for the last 10 years. But now, we are fighting for our rights without fearing these things. Our grassroots leaders and workers at all levels are ready for any situation.”

MP Rumin Farhana said: “A movement can be conducted in many ways. So far, we have done it in one way, and now the method is changing with the situation.”

According to BNP sources, they will intensify the movement across the country throughout September to increase their public support at the union level.