Bangladesh’s opposition launches ‘non-cooperation’ movement ahead of January election

Dhaka, Dec 20 (EFE).- The embattled opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) Wednesday announced a ‘non-cooperation” movement, urging people to abstain from voting in the upcoming Jan. 7 general election to force the government to resign.

“The present government of fascist (Sheikh) Hasina is completely illegal, undemocratic, and unconstitutional,” BNP’s exiled acting chairman, Tarique Rahman, said in a message posted on the party’s social media networks.

“The administration is not obliged to obey any order of this illegal government. Similarly, the people are not obliged to cooperate with the illegal government.”

Rahman urged people not to pay taxes, utility bills, or other payables to the government and urged election officials to refrain from performing their duties in the upcoming polls.

Calling banks a government “medium of plunder,” Rahman urged people to think before depositing their money.

Rahman asked his party leaders and activists not to respond to the summons of any court because the government had “snatched the independence of the judiciary.”

Bangladesh is poised for a one-sided election on Jan. 7, as major opposition parties, including the BNP and other Islamist political groups, have decided to boycott the polls unless the Awami League government steps down for a poll-time caretaker administration.

The BNP accuses the government of mass arrests, raids against party leaders and activists, torture in custody, enforced disappearances, and imprisonment in fabricated cases in the run-up to the election.

For over a year, the BNP has been asking the government to step down and transfer power to a poll-time caretaker administration—a demand the Awami League has rejected.

In a statement on Tuesday, BNP spokesperson Ruhul Kabir Rizvi said 21,150 party leaders and activists had been arrested since the party’s thwarted grand rally in Dhaka on Oct. 28.

The party noted that at least 22 people, including a journalist, have been killed in attacks by police and ruling party activists since then.

BNP chief Khaleda Zia has been barred from joining political activities since her conditional release from jail in March 2020.

Tarique Rahman, her elder son, who has been living in exile in London since 2008, has been convicted in multiple cases. He is serving as the acting party chairman in the absence of his mother.

The police have also arrested BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir and other party leaders in recent weeks on charges of violence and arson.

The Awami League and BNP have ruled Bangladesh since 1991, except for a brief quasi-military rule in 2007–08. EFE


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