Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Tuesday alleged that pro-BNP student wing Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal leader Zakir Hossain Milon was tortured in police custody and then he was sent to jail.
"What did they [the police] do to Zakir in the custody in three days that led him to death?" said the BNP secretary general while speaking at a discussion in the National Press Club.
The Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Kalyan Front organised the discussion to press home their demands for the release of BNP standing committee member Gayeshwar Chandra Roy.
Bangladesh Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal's (JCD) Dhaka (north) city unit vice president Zakir Hossain reportedly died in jail early Monday.
His family members and BNP alleged that he was tortured to death in police custody.
“They have no empathy and no compassion [for humans]. It has turned out to be the most brutal ruler. There is no value to humanity, humans and lives to them,” said Mirza Fakhrul in an oblique reference to the ruling Bangladesh Awami League (AL) party.
“You have seen how student leader Raj held me tight to save himself [from being arrested]. I couldn’t sleep throughout the night. I couldn’t protect him. It’s my failure.”
The opposition leader urged the party men to forge a larger street campaign to overcome the situation.
"Let’s transform these anguish and sufferings into strengths. Our brothers and sons are being killed indiscriminately. Let us resist them. Ask people to rise up and take to the street. This is our only way. We’ve no alternatives," he said.
“There is no law, no court and no judiciary in the country. Where will you [people] go and seek justice? We’ve only one path and that is taking to the streets. We believe we along with the people will solve all the problems on the streets. I would have been happy if this would become a protest rally instead of a discussion. This is the time to protest at and not for discussion,” he added.
The BNP leader said that the case in which the BNP chairperson was convicted was filed by the “illegal” military-controlled caretaker government of 2007-2008.
“The illegal emergency government filed the cases against all the politicians as part of its target of depoliticising the country. Four cases were filed against Khaleda Zia and 15 cases were filed against the incumbent prime minister.
“The people who don’t want to let democracy take its regular path do these things. Bangladesh has been witnessing such happenings since Pakistan-period,” said Fakhrul.
Calling the BNP chairperson “Mother of Democracy”, the BNP spokesperson said that the government has been trying to keep Khaleda in prison through different deceptive tactics. “But why? are you afraid?” he asked.
“You are so afraid that if Khaleda Zia is freed, you will lose power and so you have kept her in prison,” he said.