In a crucial discussion hosted by the ‘Gaurob ’71’ and the “Shadhinota Shangbadik Forum” at the National Press Club held on November 21, key political and social leaders convened to address the alarming rise in strikes, blockades, and arsons in Bangladesh. The event titled “Strikes, Blockades, and Arsons: A Call to Cease the Destructive Politics”, emphasized the urgent need to halt these disruptive activities, highlighting their detrimental impact on the citizens and the democratic process.
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The recent surge in violent political activities has not only disrupted everyday life but also instilled fear among citizens, compromising their safety and freedom. The economic toll of these activities was highlighted, with attention drawn to the loss of public and private property, hindering business operations and affecting livelihoods. The need for peaceful and transparent elections as a cornerstone of democracy was a recurring theme. The role of political parties in curbing violence and engaging in responsible politics was emphasized. The parties were urged to focus on constructive dialogue and peaceful demonstrations rather than destructive actions.
Mahbubul Alam Hanif, Joint General Secretary of Awami League; Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury, Former Advisor to the Prime Minister; Advocate Sanjida Khanam, Former MP; Golam Kuddus, President of Combined Cultural Alliance; Manik Lal Ghosh, Vice-President of Dhaka Union of Journalists; FM Shahin, General Secretary of Gourob ’71 and victims of arson attacks including bus owners and workers were present in the discussion.
Mahbubul Alam Hanif, Joint General Secretary, Awami League: The use of violence such as burning buses and covert attacks in the name of politics is unacceptable. These are terrorist activities, not political expressions. Since October 28, BNP-Jamaat has destroyed 186 buses and trucks. These acts bear no relation to legitimate political activities. Despite these challenges, we are committed to conducting the elections in a joyous and constitutional manner.
Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury, Former Advisor to the Prime Minister: BNP-Jamaat’s alignment with anti-independence forces highlights their disregard for democratic principles and the constitution.
Advocate Sanjida Khanam, Former MP and Awami League Central Executive Member: The recent blockades, resulting in the burning of 186 vehicles, demonstrate a clear intention to disrupt the elections and destabilize the country.
Golam Kuddus, President of the Combined Cultural Alliance: While political parties have the right to protest, resorting to violence and endangering lives is a violation of democratic norms.
Manik Lal Ghosh, Vice-President of Dhaka Journalists Union: Destructive activities around election time hinder democratic progress. We call for unity against these actions and for the media to play its role in promoting factual reporting.
FM Shahin, General Secretary of Gourob 71: Our vision is for a Bangladesh where everyone can travel safely. The current wave of violence threatens this vision and must be urgently addressed.
The event was moderated by Khairul Alam, Joint General Secretary of Dhaka Union of Journalist.
The briefing concluded with a collective commitment to democratic principles and the rule of law. The speakers urged all stakeholders in society – political parties, civil society, media, and the public to work together in fostering a peaceful and progressive political environment in Bangladesh. The importance of government support for the victims of these violent acts and stronger preventive measures was also emphasized. The session served as a reminder of the critical role each citizen plays in maintaining the nation’s democratic integrity and safety.