148Published on May 25, 2023
Academics and senior journalists have criticized Bangladesh Nationalist Party Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir’s latest statement that they view as “approval and justification” of a Rajshahi party leader publicly making a death threat against Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Calling the threat, issued last week, as a “slip of tongue”, Fakhrul instead pulled up the government for “wholesale slapping of cases against BNP leaders.”
The statement came amid a countrywide uproar after a top leader of BNP’s Rajshahi unit publicly instructed a large gathering of party activists to “send Sheikh Hasina to her grave.”
Senior columnist and researcher Ajoy Das Gupta said, “With no apology and rather asserting excuses like slip of tongue clearly shows Fakhrul and his party embrace those who issue such threats. It clearly undermines all ambits of a responsible democratic party ”
Pranab Kumar Pandey, a Rajshahi University teacher, said, “Such brazen defence only exposes the violent face of the BNP-Jamaat alliance.”
Pranab, who also writes for international publications, recounted at least 19 assassination attempts on the premier, including the heinous grenade attack in 2004 on an Awami League rally, in which around 24 leaders and activists were killed. BNP’s acting Chairperson Tarique Rahman was convicted for his involvement in planning the grenade attack.
Last year, a BNP volunteer front – Swechchhasebok Dal – leader’s similar “threat” to the PM also sparked anger on social media. In a speech, video of which went viral soon after, Abdul Qader Bhuiyan was heard publicly calling to restage “another 1975”, referring to the brutal massacre of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and most of his family members by a group of disgruntled army officers. Calling it a “very clear death threat,” Bangladesh Muktijuddho Mancha demanded immediate arrest of the BNP leader at the time.