BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Tuesday alleged that fascism has spread in the country due to divisions among different professional groups, including that of journalists.
"Fascism has spread in the country and its downfall is inevitable. Fascist regimes couldn't sustain for long in the past and they faced dire consequences at the end," he said.
The BNP leader said, "Attempts are being made to destroy the main soul of Bangladesh by creating divisions. There're now divisions among journalists, lawyers, doctors and other professionals. As a result, no one can raise their voice against the fascist government and its repressive acts."
Talking to reporters at his residence in the district town, Fakhrul warned that people's confidence in the state will diminish due to the government's 'repressive' acts.
The BNP leader urged the people of all walks of life and professions to get united and raise their voice for press freedom and the freedom of journalists.
He said BNP has made many sacrifices in the fight against the current regime as their party's over 500 leaders and activists have been made disappeared. "We've exposed how the government has been in power using the state machinery by participating in elections. There's no alternative to ousting this regime through a movement together with people."
About the arrest of Prothom Alo reporter Rozina Islam, the BNP leader said it is a nasty incident and the female journalist was subjected to repression for unveiling corruption in the health sector during the Covid crisis through her investigative reports.
"What happened in the office of the health secretary is disgusting. We don't have the words to condemn it. I denounce the government for arresting and sending her (Rozina) to jail in a false case. I demand immediate withdrawal of all the false charges brought against her and her release with dignity," he said.
He also demanded the resignation of Health Minister Zahid Maleque and Health Secretary Abdul Mannan over the incident.
Fakhrul wondered that a senior journalist was detained for more than five hours in a place like the Secretariat and handed over to the police after torturing her mentally and physically. "Such an incident can't be imagined. This's not the first case of torture for revealing the truth as many journalists were subjected to repression in the past while many others were imprisoned and killed."
He also said around 50 journalists have been forced to leave the country in the face of the government's wrath. "Journalists' writings are being regulated by the Digital Security Act. These're not isolated incidents. It's part of a blueprint for destroying a democratic society."
The BNP leader said they have long been saying that people have lost their rights. "There's no right of citizens, politicians and journalists. Still, the current government calls it democracy. The key thing in democracy is freedom of expression and the freedom to hold different views."
He said journalists are being tortured and implicated in false cases for filing reports against the government or its ministers and MPs.
Fakhrul alleged that the government has been using the Digital Security Act as the biggest weapon to gag the media and suppress the journalists.
He said Rozina has been repressed so that no one else dares to write against the government's corruption and irregularities.
Meanwhile, a Dhaka court sent Rozina, arrested in a case under the Official Secrets Act, to jail after rejecting the police's demand for her five-day remand.
Rozina was arrested for allegedly attempting to illegally "collect sensitive government documents and taking photos of them" from the Secretariat on Monday.
The Prothom Alo journalist has rejected all the allegations. "I was, in fact, harassed at the Secretariat," she claimed immediately after her arrest.