Another 60-hr hartal from Monday


Opposition alliance keeps its stance unclear over JSC, JDC examinees

After a five-day pause, the BNP-led 18-party opposition alliance has announced another 60-hour nationwide hartal from tomorrow as, what it reasoned, their demand for national elections under a non-party government went unheeded.

The hartal will be observed from 6am tomorrow till 6pm Wednesday, BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir announced at a press briefing on Saturday at the party chairperson’s Gulshan office.

The announcement followed a secretary-level meeting of the alliance partners where they finalised the action programme. The hartal coincides with the primary and junior school final examinations beginning tomorrow across the country.

About two million junior school certificate and junior dakhil certificate examinees and three million primary terminal examinees are registered for the exams, beginning November 4, 6 and 20 respectively.

Asked whether the junior certificate exams will be kept out of hartal purview, Mirza Fakhrul evaded a direct answer.

He said ambulance, vehicles of media houses and utility agencies including fire brigade, those carrying hajj pilgrims will remain out of hartal purview. “Any change will be informed later on.”

The BNP’s policymaking body at its October 29 meeting discussed a proposal of a three-day road, rail and waterway blockade from November 4 to 6.

But on the following day some alliance partners pressed for another 60-hour hartal, which was finally chosen at on Saturday’s meeting.

“The country’s 90% people want election under a non-partisan interim government, but the government is moving forward with its plan to hold polls unilaterally. That’s why we’re compelled to enforce hartal,” Mirza Fakhrul explained at the briefing.

Party insiders cited another reason for resorting to hartal.

A senior BNP leader, who is responsible to implement the action programme in the capital, told the Dhaka Tribune that they dropped the idea of blockade programmes weighing the strength of the city unit BNP.

“We cannot sustain in the field even for an hour, then how will we make a three-day blockade programme successful?” he said.

Even Chairperson Khaleda Zia was not happy with the performance of the Dhaka city unit BNP, he informed.

Alliance leaders believe that the door for a dialogue with the government still remains wide open even after announcement of a fresh spate of 60-hour hartal.

Fakhrul warned the government against any attempt to disrupt the “peaceful” hartal programme, saying then the government will have to bear the responsibility for any untoward situation.

The opposition combine observed 60 hours countrywide hartals on October 27 to October 29. At least 20 people were killed and scores of others injured during the hartal. Both the government and the opposition blamed each other for the damages caused to lives and property.

Accusing the government for repressing the opposition leaders and activists, Fakhrul said more than 6,000 activists were arrested and cases filed against around 100,000 opposition men.

He demanded immediate release of the detained leaders and activists and withdrawal of the cases.

Fakhrul alleged though the government was talking about dialogue, they (government) did not want a dialogue to really take place, and that was why staging many negative dramas.

He alleged the leak of the Prime Minister and opposition leader’s telephone conversation is illegal and immoral as the conversation was leaked without prior permission of leader of the opposition.

“The government has leaked the conversation intentionally. They did it to shun the path of dialogue and compromise.”

The BNP leader said BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia has presented a proposal on polls-time government before the nation on October 21 and urged the government to take the initiative for holding dialogue.

“I also wrote to the Awami League general secretary for initiating the talks. Our members also presented the proposal in the parliament but the treasury bench leaders ruled out the proposal criticising bitterly. So we were forced into movement,” he said.



Source: Dhaka Tribune