BNP to organise marches in Dhaka on 9, 12 February
Dhaka city's north and south units of the BNP will hold two separate marches in the capital on 9 and 12 February as part of their movement demanding a non-partisan caretaker government to oversee the upcoming national elections.
"The BNP will again organise silent protests in Dhaka, demanding the government's resignation and to press home its 10-point demand," the party's Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said at a press conference on Tuesday.
On 9 February, the Dhaka Metropolitan South BNP will march in a silent procession from Gopibagh Brothers Club ground to the National Press Club, while the Dhaka Metropolitan North BNP will arrange a similar programme from the Shyamali Club ground to Basila on 12 February.
Earlier on 4 February, the opposition party announced a countrywide union-level anti-government campaign for 11 February on the same demand.
"The government has been instigating conflicts from the beginning of the BNP's ongoing movement. The party is carrying out a non-violent, peaceful programme. After the BNP's programme at the union level, the Awami League is now giving a counter-programme," Mirza Fakhrul alleged at the press conference held at the party's political office in Gulshan.
"The BNP will unite the people and force the government to hold elections under a neutral caretaker government. People from all walks of life want the elections to be held under a neutral government. Through a peaceful programme, the government will be forced to accept the demand," he added.
The BNP secretary general conveyed the party's concern over a statement issued by Human Rights Watch demanding an investigation into the human rights situation in Bangladesh.
"The government is using the police to hold on to power illegally and suppress the movement of the BNP. We demand that the police not be involved in political activities. The government has failed to solve people's problems. I demand the government's immediate resignation by taking responsibility for the failure," he added.
Mirza Fakhrul also expressed condolences over the casualties in the devastating earthquakes in Turkey and Syria.
On 28 January, the BNP observed the first day of its four-day anti-government campaign in Dhaka as leaders and activists marched in silence from Badda to Malibagh.
The opposition party put forward a 10-point charter of demands, including the resignation of the current Awami League government, during the party's final divisional rally at the Golapbagh field in the capital on 10 December last year.
It also demanded that the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) and party symbols in local government elections be annulled, and that cases against all opposition leaders and activists, including BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, journalists, and religious scholars, be withdrawn.
As per the BNP's 10-point demand, there should be no barrier to holding rallies, and no cases can be filed to silence the voice of the opposition.
The party also sought repeal of such acts as the Digital Security Act, the Anti-Terrorism Act and the Special Powers Act.
Other demands of the BNP include bringing the prices of daily essentials within people's purchasing capacity and keeping the market free of syndicates; forming a commission to identify corruption in the banking and energy sectors and share the market; rescuing all victims of enforced disappearances in the last 15 years while identifying and punishing those responsible for extrajudicial killings; and bringing criminals responsible for attacking houses and places of worship belonging to the minorities to justice.
It also demanded steps for law enforcement agencies, the judiciary, and the administration to work independently and without any interference from the government.
The BNP chairperson's Adviser Aman Ullah Aman, and the party's Organising Secretary Syed Imran Saleh Prince, among other leaders, were present at the press conference.