Candidates face attack, obstruction, cases, Oikya Front tells diplomats
Jatiya Oikya Front leaders apprised the foreign diplomats of attacks and detention of their candidates ahead of the 30 December election.
The Front led by its leader Kamal Hossain held a meeting with the diplomats stationed in Dhaka at a city hotel on Wednesday. The Front leaders briefed foreign diplomats on the political situation.
Diplomats of the USA, China, India, the United Kingdom, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Pakistan, Sweden, Switzerland, Norway, Turkey, Phillipines, France, Australia, among others, joined the meeting.
The Oikya Front leaders include Gano Forum executive president Subrato Chowdhury, Gonoshasthaya Kendra founder Zafrullah Chowdhury, BNP leaders Tabith Awal, Sabih Uddin Ahmed, Zeba Khan and Asaduzzaman Ripon.
Speaking to newsmen, Gano Forum president Kamal Hossain said, "What we have said has a similarity with the observation of the diplomats."
He said, "Police remain unusually alert. I never saw so many police to patrol in the street. They detain people without any reason. People are victimised of violence caused by police. The government is also creating intimidation. They are acting so that the opposition cannot remain in the election race."
He, however, thanked the the chief election commissioner for issuing letter to the inspector general of police as per his (Kamal) request.
Asked whether a fair election is possible under CEC KM Nurul Huda, Kamal Hossain said, "We have conveyed our concern to the chief election commissioner. We are worrid about his inaction."
"We have talked about the political environment with the development partners," BNP standing committee member Nazrul Islam Khan told newsmen after the meeting with the diplomats at a Gulshan hotel.
"We have told the diplomats that we are facing obstruction in launching campaigns. Our candidates are also being detained," said BNP special secretary Asaduzzaman Ripon while talking to newsmen.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, US ambassador Earl R Miller said, "Today we discussed the same thing we had earlier talked about during our meetings with the ruling Awami League, Bangladesh Nationalist Party and the election commission."
When asked about the level playing field for all political parties in the election, the ambassador said, "We hope that the election commission will discharge its duty properly."
All the parties have to refrain from violence to maintain a peaceful environment for elections, Miller noted.
BNP standing committee member Nazrul Islam Khan alleged that the election commission remains silent either for the pressure of the government or its order.
Asked about what sort of cooperation the Front seeks from the diplomats, he said, "They (diplomats) have repeatedly requested us to stay in the election race. We are still in the race."
"The prime minister assured us of a fair election. She also assured that no cases will be filed and leaders will not be arrested. The government is not following its own words," Nazrul pointed out.
About the AL's allegation of BNP's complaint to the foreigners, the BNP leader said, "It is not a matter of complaint. Everybody should know the truth."
"The government is creating confusion and plotting to foil the election," Nazrul Islam Khan said.
Asaduzzaman Ripon said the manifestoes of BNP and Oikya Front have been handed over to the diplomats.