A week after Jamaat-e-Islami activists torched police cars and vandalised vehicles, prime minister Sheikh Hasina has said the party will not be allowed to go on the rampage again.
“Militant activities are off in the country, the war crimes trial is proceeding. A quarter is active to thwart the process that supports development and progress,” Hasina told a function in New York on Monday.
“Bangladesh is not a terrorist country. Our country been recognised as a liberal democratic one in the world,” she said.
The prime minister was speaking at a reception given by the Bangladeshi expatriates in New York.
Activists of Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir clashed with police in Dhaka and Chittagong on Sep 19 injuring at least 50 law enforcers. They also vandalised and set ablaze several vehicles.
Hasina arrived in New York on Sep 18 to join the 66th UN General Assembly. She is likely to leave for Dhaka on Sep 28.
About the caretaker government system, the prime minister said, “The caretaker government bill had been passed in parliament by installing killers of Bangabandhu in parliament. A law passed by killers cannot do any good to people.”
She said the spirit of the original constitution of 1972 has been ‘restored’. “No-one will be able to capture power by violating the constitution.”
The caretaker government system had been repealed through the passage of the 15th Amendment to the constitution in parliament on June 30 following a Supreme Court order.
‘ONE HARTAL A MONTH’
Hasina ridiculed opposition BNP’s movement and shutdowns, joked that the people would get rest if they call general strikes once a month.
She termed lockdowns ‘environment-friendly’ and said the factories owned by opposition supporters remain open during shutdowns.
BNP and its allies enforced seven general strikes, including one on Sep 22, during the current government’s tenure.
The prime minister termed the Awami League’s 1996-2001 tenure the ‘golden era’ of Bangladesh.
“People’s dreams started falling apart after 2001. BNP and their coalition government had made Bangladesh questionable at international level.
“A total of 16 journalists had been killed and 1,500 others harassed at that time (BNP’s tenure),” she added.
‘WE’LL LEAVE POWER’
The prime minister said the government achieved 93 percent of the Annual Development Programme target in the last fiscal year and hoped that the GDP would grow at seven percent.
She also said no power lasts forever. “When people won’t vote [us], we’ll relinquish power. Many bad habits of those who bask in power get worse.”
“Those power-mongers get crazy once they are deposed. They start stealing when they no more get what got easily overnight. I have been through many ups and downs in my life. We want to let go of our present for the people’s welfare.”
She urged the expatriates to invest in Bangladesh and announced that the Biman Bangladesh Airline’s New York flights would be re-launched once Boeing supplies plane.
“The firm is likely to supply plane in November,” Hasina said.