1933Published on May 30, 2018
Iterating her firm stance on the ongoing countrywide drive against narcotics, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said the people are now getting relief from such drives and none, even ‘godfathers’ and ‘dons’, would be spared in this regard.
“The people of the country are getting relief from the anti-narcotics drive and it’s the demand of the people…….even the big dailies are making big headlines over the spread of drugs. Let us do our job,” she said replying to a question at a crowded press conference at her official Ganabhaban residence this afternoon.
The press conference was convened to brief the media about the outcome of her recent tour to India.
The Premier said she does not know who are termed as godfathers of drugs or dons, adding, “I can only say that we’re not considering who are ‘godfathers’ or who are ‘dons’. Actions are being taken against those who are involved in drugs dealing, trading and have such allegations against them.”
She said, “If there is any godfather ……….he or she won’t be spared. I can say this as whenever I deal with something, deal it with an iron hand (Ami jokhon dhori bhalo korei dhori). I don’t look at who is whose brother or whose uncle.”
Sheikh Hasina said questions were also raised when her government had earlier launched the drive against terrorism saying, “We’ve been able to contain terrorism. Such terrorist acts are being done even in the most civilized countries of the world. But, we’ve been able to keep Bangladesh into a good position considering that.”
Terming addiction and trading of drug as a ‘menace’ to the society, she said since the ongoing anti-narcotics drive was launched, some 10,000 drug peddlers, suppliers and drug users have been arrested, but she wondered this was not highlighted in the media with such hype.
Replying to a question, the Prime Minister said that no innocent person has fallen victim of the ongoing anti-narcotics drive adding, “If any innocent person falls victim of the drive, then we’ll surely take steps. But, we’ll have to root out drug from the society and this has always been the demand of all.”
Sheikh Hasina said whenever the police or RAB personnel conduct any drive, then they often had to face unexpected situation. “But, if any injustice happens to anyone, then the offenders will have to face the action.”
She said the law enforcement agencies are not conducting drives all on a sudden, rather they have kept the drug peddlers and the drug producers on constant vigil for a long time.
She posed a question before the media and countrymen whether the society would be in good condition if the anti-adulteration and the anti-narcotics drives are stopped.
Asked about the progress over the proposed Teesta Water Sharing deal, the Prime Minister requested all to keep patience since the Indian government has assured Bangladesh of looking into the matter.
She said the purpose of her recent visit to India was not to discuss Teesta water sharing, rather to inaugurate the ‘Bangladesh Bhaban’, adding that the Joint River Commission (JRC) is there to continue discussion over the Teesta issue.
Sheikh Hasina informed that the issue is being discussed at the JRC while the Indian Prime Minister as well as the Minister for External Affairs also spoke about the matter.
She asked why Teesta Barraga was built by the then government in Bangladesh in the past since the country is in the downstream of the river.
She also questioned about the necessity of building the Teesta Barrage with such huge state exchequer since there is no water in the river when the demand is at the fullest in the dry season. “Why you’ll make a hue and cry for water in that river after making such barrage of our own.”
The Premier in this connection highlighted various steps of her government to dredge the major rivers of the country to keep up the navigability round the year including in Padma, Meghna, Jamuna, Brahmaputra, Dharla, Teesta, Paira.
If assumed office in the next time, she also revealed her plan to break down all the box culverts in the city and dredge the canals in Panthapath, Shantinagar, Begunbari and thus build roads over those canals.
When requested by a senior journalist to continue process for attaining the Nobel peace prize by the Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina said she has no such intention to continue such process as she does not have such financial capability to keep lobbyist for gaining the esteemed prize.
“Proposals in favour of me went there from various countries of the world, but I never thought of that. The most important prize for me is to ensure two square meals for my beloved countrymen so that they could live in peace,” she added.
The Premier said she has also no such desire to keep lobbyist with the amount of interest realized from the poor. “So far whatever awards I’ve received, there was no demand from myself.”
Out of the all awards that she received over her long political career, Sheikh Hasina said she would put the DLitt degree from the Kazi Nazrul University in Asansol at the top of the list saying that the talents of national poet Kazi Nazrul Islam is multifaceted.
“Nazrul has given us a vast reserve of literature and there is no comparison of him,” she added.
The Prime Minister said the Rohingya issue also came up for discussion during her India trip as India is extending all sorts of support to Bangladesh including sending of sufficient aid items for the forcibly displaced Rohingya people. “India has also assured us of keeping pressure on Myanmar over the Rohingya issue.”
Restating that the next election will be held as per the constitution, the prime minister said that it is not correct that the polls will not be staged in a transparent manner. “The election will be held in the way that has been mentioned in the constitution and the polls-time government will be formed as per the constitution … it’s reality,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the Election Commission will stage the polls. The EC has been constituted through a search committee and the persons whom the BNP wanted have been kept in the commission, she said.
Responding to Bikalpa Dhara President Dr Badruddoza Chowdhury’s apprehension about the next polls, the prime minister said where was he when Ziaur Rahman staged the farcical “yes-no” vote, the presidential and parliamentary polls.
“Vote rigging and irregularities were initiated during the rule of Zia and it was Zia who grabbed power violating constitution and declared himself as the president by removing ASM Sayem from the post of president at gun-point,” she said.
The premier said after capturing power Zia staged farcical election one after another. “Did Badruddoza Chowdhury forget what the 1981 election was,” she said.
The premier said the election is now held transparently due to our proposal for transparent ballot box and voter list with photographs. “We’ve done the struggle for vote and foods,” she said.
In this connection, Sheikh Hasina said, “What can we do if any person or organisation doesn’t come to the election and why the frustration regarding the participation of those who killed over 500 people and torched 582 schools to thwart the January 5 election.”
Mentioning that the people will decide everything, there is a quarter in the country which has no place for keeping feet, she said.
“They are seeking international pressure and making complaints frequently to others,” she said, adding, “we’ve a link with the soil and place for keeping feet.”
.Replying to another question referring to a media report in India, Sheikh Hasina said she does not want India to repay.
“I don’t have the habit of seeking, rather I have the habit of delivering. India would have to remember forever what we’ve given to them as we’ve relieved them from bombing, firing which used to take place every now and then. But, we express our gratitude to them for extending their all-out support during our War of Liberation.”
About the adverse comments of BNP leaders over her India trip, Sheikh Hasina said Khaleda Zia made India visits even her husband Ziaur Rahman paid a visit to India in December 1977.
“Now today, they (BNP) are now crying for water in the Teesta, but the most important issue was the Ganges water sharing (that AL had resolved),” Sheikh Hasina said and adding even Khaleda Zia upon her return from India as the then prime minister told that she had forget to raise the water sharing issue.
The premier also said it was the Awami League government which had peacefully exchanged the enclaves with India which no other country in the world could have done.
Celebrities Participation in Polls
Responding to a query from a journalist that whether the contesting election by the grassroots politicians will be hampered if the celebrities like star cricketers Mashrafe and Shakib come to politics, the prime minister ruled out the apprehension.
She said the stars get nomination in all countries of the world and it’s nothing anew. Now if anybody has desire to contest the polls they certainly brought laurels for the country, she added.
“They have brought the game to a good position and it’s seen in every country… it doesn’t mean the grassroots leaders don’t get nomination,” the premier said.
Sheikh Hasina added: “We all came from the grassroots and groomed up in politics from the school life … we didn’t come as celebrities.”