Information and Broadcasting Minister Hasan Mahmud on Friday said BNP’s stubbornness to hold a rally before its Naya Paltan headquarters keeping bombs inside the office proved that their target was to carry out terrorist acts, not holding a peaceful rally.
Hasan Mahmud, also the joint general secretary of the ruling Awami League, made the remarks while talking to journalists at his Minto Road official residence in Dhaka, according to BSS.
He said 15 bombs, 200,000 bottles of water, 160 sacks of rice, a cooked hodgepodge, cooking pots, containers and Taka 200,000 in cash were recovered from the BNP office following the clash between BNP leaders-workers and police on Wednesday.
“The government has to ensure the people’s safety and take measures to avert any chaotic situation,” he said.
The minister said the government was compelled to take action when policemen came under attack, and the rally was held illegally by blockading streets.
“We told them throughout the last two weeks that the government will extend all-out cooperation to them in holding their rally. But they were adamant to hold the rally at Naya Paltan to create disorders. It is completely illegal,” he said.
Noting that every party can hold a peaceful rally in the country, he said if the government did not extend cooperation and ensure safety, BNP couldn't hold large rallies in nine places of the country.
“They held rallies in all divisional cities and the government ensured security to them. There was no problem there. They locked into internal conflicts in some places,” he mentioned.
The AL joint general secretary said when BNP was in power, AL was not allowed to hold rallies.
Gruesome grenade attacks were carried out on Awami League’s anti-terrorism rally on August 21 in 2004 with a target to assassinate the then Opposition Leader Sheikh Hasina while 24 leaders and workers were killed and around 500 others received injuries in the attacks, he recalled.
Attacks were carried out on the public rally of Sheikh Helal, MP, leaving a dozen people killed while Shah A M S Kibria and Ahsanullah Master were killed by launching attacks on their rallies, he said.
“Hundreds of people including AL leaders and workers were wounded in different attacks on Awami League programmes during the BNP tenure while an attack was also carried out on public rally of Suranjit Sengupta,” said Hasan.
“We are in power for 14 years but they (BNP) are holding rallies smoothly,” he added.
Talking about the arrest of BNP leaders Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir and Mirza Abbas, the minister said Fakhrul and Abbas are accused in different cases of giving orders over the killing 500 people and injuring 3000 others by carrying out arson attacks, torching 3500 vehicles and setting fire at launches and trains during the 2013 to 2015 period.
They even didn’t show respect to the court as they didn’t appear in court, he mentioned.
Besides, Fakhrul and Abbas also gave commands in the incident of Naya Paltan on November 7, unleashing attacks on policemen, keeping bombs at the office, and torching and vandalising vehicles across the country including Chattogram and Dhaka.
Asked whether Tarique Rahman is instigating from London to create disorder in the country, Hasan said these terrorist acts were being carried out and BNP showed its stubbornness in holding a rally at Naya Paltan at the directive of Tarique Rahman.
Many leaders of BNP agreed to hold the rally at the Suhrawardy Udyan and even BNP gave a proposal in the initial two meetings with the police to hold the rally there but they changed their decision at Tarique’s directive, he said.
They denied four-five alternative proposals of places of holding the rally at Pallabi in Mirpur, Kalshi ground, Ijtema ground and trade fair ground, he said.