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AL to observe hunger strike next month PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 31 March 2008

Bangladesh Awami League will stage a daylong mass hunger strike across the country before April 20 to press for its five-point demand that includes announcement of election schedule and release of detained party chief Sheikh Hasina, reports UNB.

Awami League''s planned hunger strike next month is first ever agitation program since the incumbent caretaker government assumed the office on January 12 last year amidst state of emergency.

The 5-point demand include bringing down the record high prices of essentials, holding trial of war criminals, Hasina''s treatment abroad and improving law and order situation.

The decision came from a daylong meeting of Awami League central working committee held at the party''s Dhanmondi office.

Acting party president Zillur Rahman presided over the meeting. Briefing reporters after the meeting, acting AL general secretary Syed Ashraful Islam declared the mass hunger strike saying that the planned hunger strike is the beginning of their future ''constructive movement.''

The meeting strongly demanded unconditional release of Sheikh Hasina and other party leaders. "We earlier sent an application to the Chief Advisor with a request to release Sheikh Hasina and arrange her appropriate treatment in USA. But, the government didn''t pay heed to our demand…Now we strongly demand her unconditional release," Ashraful said.

The meeting criticized the caretaker government for failing to handle the spiral price-hike of daily needs and observed that mismanagement, indifference and indecision of the government is responsible for soaring price-hike pushing the country towards famine-like situation. "Control the prices of essentials.

Otherwise, people will lose their patience that might lead to awkward situation and it would not be good for the nation," Ashraf warned. The meeting approved the signature campaign program announced by the City Awami League and the Jubo Mohila Awami League and hailed the organizations for taking such program aiming at releasing Sheikh Hasina.

Awami League called for starting proposed dialogue between the government and the political parties ahead of parliamentary election but cautioned that if the war criminals are invited to the dialogue, Awami League would boycott it.

"We want bilateral dialogue like that of the Election Commission and we hope the government will refrain from any move that might hamper the dialogue process and it would not bring any good for the nation," Ashraful said.

The central working committee asked the caretaker government to withdraw the 14-month-old state of emergency and lift ban on political activities across the country to create congenial atmosphere for holding the elections. The meeting decided to exchange views with divisional level leaders of the party to know their opinion about the elections and the movement. Such exchanges will complete by mid-April.

"The only task of the caretaker government is to hold general elections and hand over power to an elected government and for this the government should announce election schedule immediately as people are doubtful about holding of the election in due time," Ashraful said. He said an elected government can solve people''s misery and handing over power to an elected government is the only solution to overcome the present impasse.

Meeting sources told UNB that Awami League would continue a series of constructive agitations in a bid to make the common people aware that would ultimately be intensified to realize their demands. After the observance of the planned mass hunger strike, the party is likely to announce programs like wearing black badge and hoisting black flags across the country and forming human chain to speed up the movement on the street.

At the central committee meeting, some leaders expressed their dissatisfaction over the activities of its student wing Bangladesh Chhatra League. They suggested reconstitution of the Chhatra League to make it effective. The leaders underscored the need for keeping party united at any cost shunning differences of opinion.

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