Zahangir Alam, the Gazipur City Corporation mayor expelled by the Awami League over his remarks on Bangabandhu and Liberation War martyrs, claims he is the victim of a ‘conspiracy'.
Zahangir broke down in tears while speaking to the media at his home on Saturday, a day after the party announced its decision. He says he will appeal the decision.
“Conspirators are trying to give a false impression of me to the honourable prime minister,” he said. “If I could speak to the honourable prime minister directly regarding that audio and video, she would understand. Then maybe she would not take the strict action she has.”
A man, purportedly the Gazipur mayor, is heard making comments in the audio clip on the three million martyrs and Bangabandhu’s role in the war.
Zahangir claimed that the audio that went viral on social media had been doctored and distributed with malicious intent, reports bdnews24.com.
“They took my statement and edited the audio and video and made it go viral on the Internet,” he said.
Zahangir, a former Chhatra League leader, said there had been a conspiracy against him since his time in student politics.
“Since then, certain quarters and conspirators have not stopped working against me. They have tried to raise questions about me by giving false information to the prime minister.”
But, the mayor acknowledges that he may have made a ‘mistake’ as well.
“The mistake may be mine,” he said. “I ask forgiveness for my mistake. Honourable prime minister, please reconsider my decision. I ask the Awami League to reconsider. I want to remain a supporter of the Awami League.”
Zahangir became the first mayor of the Gazipur City Corporation in the 2013 election. He ran under the Awami League’s boat symbol in 2018 and won another term.
He was also the general secretary of the Gazipur Metropolitan Awami League. He was dismissed from the position during his expulsion. His position as mayor is also in doubt.
“I am mentally unable to bear the blow dealt to myself, my family and my existence by this expulsion,” he said. “I may have made a mistake, but I did not sin or commit a crime.”
Supporters of the mayor have been demonstrating throughout the city since his expulsion. On Saturday morning, groups of activists from the metropolitan area gathered at his home. Zahangir then emerged in the afternoon to speak to the media.
“As long as I have been aware, I have been with the Bangladesh Chhatra League and the Awami League. The great Bangabandhu and the honourable prime minister have been my ideals in every moment of my existence.”
“I am willing to lay down my life for Bangabandhu, the Awami League and the prime minister. But please do not involve me in falsehoods. Let there be no false accusations.”
“I have never wanted to be a chief guest at an event during my three years as mayor,” he said. “I work on the streets to help the people with the support of the honourable prime minister. And so, I entreat the prime minister, for myself and for the residents of Gazipur.”