BNP on Thursday demanded police security at Firoza, the Gulshan residence of its chairperson Kaleda Zia.
The BNP chief has been there in the house since her release from jail on March 25 for six months on an executive order.
BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi made the demand at a press conference at the party’s Nayapaltan central office.
Rizvi said Khaleda’s personal secretary submitted an application to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) seeking police protection for her, but no step has so far been taken in this regard.
“I, on behalf of BNP, have request the IGP to take immediate steps to ensure the security of our leader Khaleda Zia,” he said.
On March 25, Khaleda was released temporarily keeping her sentences suspended following an executive order over 25 months after she had been convicted and sent to jail in graft cases.
The government passed the executive order for her release upon two conditions -- receiving treatment staying at her Gulshan residence and not leaving the country.
The 75-year-old BNP leader has been in quarantine now at her Gulshan residence.
About the coronavirus situation, Rizvi said though the government is saying everything is under its control, the western media are saying the next two weeks are very risky for Bangladesh while foreign diplomats and citizens are leaving the country. “We’ll have to face serious consequences if we fail to contain the spread of the virus now with proper protective measures.”
He alleged that the real scenario of the coronavirus infection in the country is not getting exposed due to the government’s ‘hide-and-seek ’policy.
Rizvi voiced concern that the deaths of many people with the symptoms of coronavirus like cough, fever, respirator and cold-related problems are being reported every day by the media though the government said only one person died over the last two days.
The BNP leader said the government should focus on increasing coronavirus testing facilities and strictly enforce the lockdown and home quarantine to check the spread of the deadly virus.
“It won’t be possible to overcome a serious pandemic like coronavirus by concealing information. People should be encouraged to maintain the quarantine by providing them accurate information,” he observed.
He alleged that the government has arrested 12 doctors and BNP activists under the Digital Security Act for criticising the government’s ‘information hiding policy’. “We demand that the arrested be released immediately.”
Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader on Wednesday urged BNP to stand by people refraining from trying to make political gains in this crisis of Coronavirus.
“BNP leaders are busy criticising the government through holding press conferences instead of standing by people,” he said while speaking at a press briefing at his residence in the city.
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Tuesday alleged that people are not getting treatment at hospitals as the government is failing to handle the current situation. “We’re repeatedly saying we all must come forward to protect the nation considering the current situation from the humanitarian point of view instead of political one.”
He said the government must work out a plan as to how opposition parties and government employees can effectively be utilised to overcome the crisis.
Fakhrul also suggested the government to form a national committee to contain the coronavirus outbreak and its fallout. “We’re not criticising the government for the sake of opposing its activities. We want to cooperate with the government as we called for working unitedly to tackle the current situation,” he told reporters at his Uttara residence.
Quader, also road transport and bridges minister, talked about the progress on the work of the Padma Multipurpose Bridge, saying 78.50 percent work has already completed.
Meanwhile, AL Subcommittee on Relief and Social Welfare distributed protective equipment among different hospitals and social organisations at the party chief’s Dhanmondi political office.
Jatiya Party Chairman GM Quader on Tuesday said the government’s aid programmes for the poor and destitute badly affected by the coronavirus-induced shutdown are inadequate.
In a statement, he called upon the rich to extended their helping hands to mitigate the sufferings of the hapless people.
“The people who earn their daily bread through hard work have been hit hard by the social isolation enforced to prevent the coronavirus. The government has taken various programmes to help the extreme poor, but those are not adequate in many cases as many are being deprived of this facility,” the JaPa chief said.
“That’s why it’s now imperative to stand beside the poor who are in danger following the efforts to make Bangladesh free from coronavirus,” he observed.
Describing coronavirus as a global disaster, Quader said the humanitarian values of people must be awakened to overcome it. “The solidarity, brotherhood and compassion of people can relieve the hardship of the extreme poor.”
He called upon the wealthy people to distribute food among the hapless people maintaining personal safety and hygiene.
The Jatiya Party chairman also urged his party leaders and activists to help the poor people as per their ability.
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Tuesday suggested the government to form a national committee to contain the coronavirus outbreak and its fallout.
“We’re not criticising the government for the sake of opposing its activities. We want to cooperate with the government as we called for working unitedly to tackle the current situation,” he told reporters at his Uttara residence.
The BNP leader further said, “No national committee has been formed yet. Bangladesh is a country of 160 million people…it’ll be good for the country if a national unity can be forged to tackle such a serious crisis. We think there’s still time to form a national committee.”
He said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina can take an initiative to constitute the national committee comprising politicians, experts and civil society members. “This committee members need not to sit together as they can hold meetings through videoconferencing. Then everybody will feel that we’re one nation and we can do many things.”
Fakhrul called upon their party leaders and activists to stand by poor people and provide them food as per their ability maintaining personal safety.
About the fallout of coronavirus on the country’s economy, he said most people depend on their daily income, but now they can’t earn money due to the current situation. “We’ll have to face a grievous situation if immediate and effective steps are not taken to provide those people with food. We may witness a 1974-like disastrous situation. The government has to look into the matter.”
The BNP leader said the government can employ army to stand by the poor and jobless people with the help of public representatives at the grassroots level and the political parties.
He said now people are not getting treatment at hospitals as the government is failing to handle the current situation. “We’re repeatedly saying we all must come forward to protect the nation considering the current situation from the humanitarian point of view instead of political point of view.”
Fakhrul said the government must work out a plan as to how opposition parties and government employees can effectively be utilised to overcome the crisis.
He said the coronavirus spread can be prevented here had the government taken proper steps in due time when the virus was wreaking a havoc on China.
BNP on Monday accused the government of adopting a ‘hide-and-seek policy’ of ‘no test, no corona’ like that of Iran and Italy only to invite a grave danger for the country.
“The government’s policy (to contain the coronavirus) is not clear to people. The governments of Iran and Italy destroyed their countries and got isolated from the world by adopting the policy--‘no kit no corona, no test no corona and no patient no corona. But we’re also trying to manage everything following that hide-and-seek policy,” said party senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi.
Speaking at a press conference through a videoconference from BNP’s Nayapaltan central office, he also alleged that the government is making evil efforts so that no-one can expose the government’s such policy over the infection by the deadly coronavirus. “The name of this hide-and-seek policy is rumour.”
The BNP leader said people have got deeply worried and frustrated as the ministers are making ‘irresponsible’ comments about the ‘false’ success of the government in tackling the virus by denying the reality.
He regretted that tough the government got two months to take necessary preparations to check the spread of coronavirus, it has failed to given attention to the matter.
Rizvi voiced concern that the country may face a grave danger as the government has failed to put those Bangladeshis returned home from different corona-infected countries under quarantine properly as per the guidelines of the WHO.
He said the government still lacks both preparations and coordination to tackle such a disaster. “There’s no adequate equipment and management to detect the infected patients…the statistics the government is giving without testing system is not credible to people.”
The BNP leader said though the government said no corona patient detected over the two consecutive days, media are running news on the deaths of people from cold, coughing and respiratory problems. “The newspapers published the reports on deaths of five people having the coronavirus symptoms over the last 24 hours.”
Stating that around 6.65 lakh people returned to Bangladesh from abroad since the last week of January, he said these people and those came in contact to them are not yet tested. “These unmarked people are at risk of spreading the virus to a geometric rate in society.”