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National Committee: No unity with BNP for Rampal protest

  • Published at 11:30 pm August 29th, 2016
  • Last updated at 11:33 pm August 29th, 2016
National Committee: No unity with BNP for Rampal protest
The National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports on Monday has ruled out any intention of unity with the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) on the issue of power plant near the Sundarbans. Anu Muhammad, the committee's member secretary said, the civil group leaders are ready to sit with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for discussions if she reconsiders the project. "Public opinion in favour of our movement has been mobilised with hard work. We don't care about patronisation by any powerful quarters or with money," he told a press conference in Mukti Bhaban in Purana Paltan in Dhaka.
The National Committee Convener Sheikh Shahidullah told the press conference: "We will press ahead with our movement to save the Sundarbans with the people and will not stop until the government calls off the project."
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina, at a press conference on Saturday at Ganabhaban, reiterated that the 1,320MW plant would not cause any harm to the Sundarbans mangrove forest. She alleged that the protesters were creating panic among the people by portraying the project as destructive. The prime minister, who unveiled the foundation plaque of the project on October 5, 2013, smelt conspiracy in BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia’s expressing solidarity with the anti-Rampal movement. Anu Muhammad critisised Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of making provocative remarks about the Rampal movement. He recalled that they had demonstrated against the Phulbari open-pit mining during the BNP-Jamaat government 10 years ago despite firing on the people. "The Awami League supported that movement. And the government at that time termed the Awami League’s support as ‘cat out of the bag’," said Anu Muhammad, adding that the character of all ruling parties remains the same. "The prime minister is trying to take advantage of Khaleda's support to smear our movement. We want to say it clearly that not only the BNP, but we also have had the privilege of being supported by the Awami League during the last ten years." He said the government of the day had also claimed the protestors were patronised by the opposition. "When these parties are in power, their role is simply the opposite, which's clear from how the government is responding now." Anu Muhammad also lamented that the prime minister raised questions about the source of finance for the movement. “Let us inform the respected prime minister that we still collect the money to meet the expenses the way we used to raise money when you supported the Phulbari movement”, he said.