Jatiya Party Chairman Hussein Muhammad Ershad has urged the government to demolish ‘Ganajagaran Mancha’- the platform of the popular movement demanding maximum penalty for war criminals and a ban on Jamaat-e-Islami.
The former dictator promised support to the Hifazat-e-Islami’s long march to Dhaka on Apr 6 and said,“Ganjagaran Mancha has turned the people against the government by speaking against Islam and the prophet.
The government has suffered for its support to ‘Ganajagaran Mancha’. A rift was created between the Jamaat-e-Islami and BNP. But they have come closer following reaction from the platform”.
Ershad made the comments at a biennial meeting of the Party in Chittagong.
The leader of the Jatiya Party, a key ally to the ruling government, said university students had come down to the capital’s streets after the verdict on Jamaat leader Quader Molla. They had hoped that Quader will be sentenced to death. They formed ‘Ganajagaran Mancha’ after their expectations were not met.
He said the platform for “the movement has been ‘politicised’. They have been cordoned off by the police. Food is being arranged for them (protesters).”
“This is not how people rise. There was a mass rising in the year 70 and 71. There was no mass uprising after that.”
“I was the only politician who protested their (‘Ganajagaran Mancha) programme to hoist flags across the country. Who are they to make such a call? … I had said. Only Bangabandhu can make such announcements.”
Ershad said he believes ‘Ganajagaran Mancha’ has ‘divided the country between the ‘atheists’ and the ‘devout Muslim’.
He alleged that the statements issued by the Ganajagaran Mancha were ‘against Islam and its prophet and led to organisations like Hifazat-e-Islam gaining strength’.
Hifazat-e-Islami is a radical group based in Chittagong has announced a long march on Apr 6 demanding justice against ‘atheists and blasphemous bloggers’.
Ershad also advised the leading ladies of Bangladeshi politics to sit in a dialogue and cautioned that otherwise the country might face ‘another 1/11-like situation’.
“You (Sheikh Hasina) and Khaleda Zia have both been behinds bars. I too was removed from my post in the party.”
“So join the elections. Take my formula to form an interim government with representatives from all political parties.”
The former military ruler expressed hope about himself assuming power and said he was not in favour of political vendetta. “No one will be harmed once I come to power.”
“I told the Prime Minister to do good work to keep us by their side. But Jatiya Party aspires to assume power and refuses to be utilised as a means to retain the coalition in government.”
Ershad claimed that many have been asking him to leave the ruling coalition and said that he knows the right time to do so.
The grand alliance was formed to govern for five years and there will be no coalition after the term comes to an end, he said.
“Will the government fall if I leave the coalition” Ershad asked.
He also said that the government has ‘failed’ to provide security to the religious minorities.
“Hindu temples are being burnet. Ramu has been attacked. The government failed to provide security no matter who is responsible for the attacks.”
The military dictator was removed from power through a mass movement in 1990.