Police harassment of opposition activists has reached unprecedented levels ahead of the national election, Jatiya Oikyafront leader Dr Kamal Hossain alleged yesterday.
“The current government has outdone all the previous autocratic governments in carrying out its activities. I have not seen such a situation in the last 47 years since the country’s independence,” he told a press conference at the alliance’s Purana Paltan office.
He said the government was blocking the way to a fair election by arresting and repressing opposition leaders and activists.
“The police force is being used centrally to arrest opposition leaders and activists. This hampers the congenial atmosphere of the election.”
Dr Kamal, also the Gonoforum president, urged the government and the law enforcement agencies not to turn the December 30 election into a farce.
“You should show a minimum of respect to the country’s constitution and democracy. The constitution suggests that the police should play a neutral role. But we see they have been violating it.”
The eminent jurist also called upon the government and the police to keep calm as the election was only a week away.
“It can’t be called a victory if you win an election in such a way. If you do so, it will destroy the constitution and deprive people of exercising their franchise.”
Urging the government to stop such activities immediately, he said it would be accused of violating the constitution if it did otherwise.
“If people cannot cast their vote freely, it will be a big blow to the country’s independence.”
Asked whether the Oikyafront would boycott the election, he said they would not want to quit the race no matter how worse the situation became.
About the silence of a neighbouring country over the recent attacks on opposition men, Dr Kamal said they expected that country to play its role in maintaining democracy in the region.
‘POLICE MAIN RIVAL’
Reading out a written statement at the press conference, Oikyafront leader Jaglul Haider Afrik alleged that the police became their main rival.
A big group of the police force has been “behaving like party cadres violating their neutrality”. The administration has been treating the Oikyafront leaders and activists as its opponent, he said.
The Jatiya Oikyafront expects the police administration to take the right path immediately, he added.
The Oikyafront also urged the Election Commission to reschedule the election in the constituencies where its nominees’ candidacy got cancelled by the court.
As many as 15 Oikyafront candidates have got their election bid cancelled by the apex court.
The current situation indicates that there is no level playing field and the atmosphere is not suitable for people to cast their votes freely, it said addressing the EC.
The Oikyafront announced a grand rally at Suhrawardy Udyan on December 27.