BNP leaders and activists have indirectly been kept imprisoned: Mirza Abbas

BNP standing committee member Mirza Abbas addresses a press briefing from his own home in Shahjahanpur of the capital Monday afternoonCollected

All of BNP's leaders and activists have indirectly been kept imprisoned, remarked BNP standing committee member Mirza Abbas. He said, "They have not been released, just temporarily been given bail. We are like chickens in a cage. When they want, they'll grab and slaughter us."

Mirza Abbas was replying to journalists at a media briefing held in the afternoon today, Monday, at his residence in Shahjahanpur of the capital. The BNP leader said, "We are still imprisoned. We still cannot move around freely."

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Mirza Abbas alleged that a couple of government-backed newspapers had recently quoted him out of context. He organised this press briefing to clear any confusion in minds of the people in the party and the country. He said, "My statement had been that Awami League had not accepted any demands of the people. That is why BNP did not join the election. Certain newspapers had twisted this statement."

The movement for democracy, votes, the right to speak, will continue. It will not stop. If we can't do it, someone else will
Mirza Abbas, BNP standing committee member

This BNP leader was released from Dhaka Central Jail in Keraniganj on 19 February after spending three and a half months in prison. The police had arrested Mirza Abbas on 31 October before the 12th Jatiya Sangsad (national parliament) election.

Relating his experience in jail, Mirza Abbas said, "We were worried about medical treatment. We repeatedly cautioned them that Fakhrul saheb (BNP secretary general Mirza  Fakhrul Islam Alamgir) was elderly, I was getting on in years too. We were suffering from various health complications and could face problems. Bring us a specialist physician or let us go. They said, 'sir, we have been forbidden to do so.' In other words, they would let us rot and die in jail, but would not provide us with medical treatment."

The BNP leader Mirza Abbas went on to say that he suffered extremely in in jail this time. He spoke to the newspersons about his fears in prison.

Replying to questions of the newspersons, he said, "You can ask questions, but with care please. I had never spent time in jail in this manner before." He said, "I have been spent time to jail from way back in 1978. I have even slept on the floor. We were given dented plates and drank water from aluminium glasses. The heat was extreme. When I first went to jail, I was 27 years old. Now I am almost 77. It has been so many years. This time jail was different. Everyone was given all facilities, but not us."

'People anxious about prices in Ramadan'

The BNP standing committee member Mirza Abbas said that the people could not spend the holy month of Ramadan in peace during the rule of the Awami League government.

He said, "I have not seen a single Ramadan where the people were at ease during Ramadan when Awami League was in power. This time too, nothing is cheap. People no longer want to speak out. Those who would have three square meals a day, now have two. Those who would each twice a day, now eat once. That is how things are. No one had any headache about prices any more. The government has no headache, and the people have taken this as the norm."

'If we can't do it, someone else will'

In reply to a question about what will BNP's political priorities  be now, Mirza Abbas said, "It is not the time to speak of this now. Our leaders and activists are still in jail. Some are undergoing treatment. Once things are back in shape, we will take a decision."

Mirza Abbas said, "The movement for democracy, votes, the right to speak, will continue. It will not stop. If we can't do it, someone else will."