Where is Mahmudur Rahman Manna?

Mahmudur Rahman MannaFile photo

The Ganatantra Mancha is one of the major allies of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) in their simultaneous movement demanding the resignation of the government. Nagorik Oikko president Mahmudur Rahman has long been vocal against the government. However, he has not been seen anywhere since the clash that erupted on the day of the BNP’s grand rally on 28 October.

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A number of leaders and activists of the BNP have been arrested since 28 October. Many have gone into hiding to evade arrest. There are also allegations against the government of exerting pressure on the leaders of the opposition party to coerce them into participating in the elections.

Additionally, there are rumors that many of the leaders are engaged in secret talks with the government. In this context, the disappearance of Mahmudur Rahman has sparked discussions within the political arena of the country. 

The BNP and other opposition parties have declared hartals in two phases and blockades in six phases since the incident on 28 October. The leaders and activists of the Ganatantra Mancha brought out processions and held brief rallies in each of these programmes. The activists of Nagorik Oikko are also taking part in these programmes. Some of the senior leaders are also participating in the brief rallies held after the processions. However, Mahmudur Rahman was not present at any of these events. Nevertheless, he sent a video message addressing the activists of his party during the last hartal (shutdown). 

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Prothom Alo tried to reach Mahmudur Rahman over the phone to speak in this regard. However, his phone was switched off. He has not seen the Whatsapp text that this correspondent sent on 20 November.

Speaking regarding this, Nagorik Oikko leaders are saying that although Mahmudur Rahman is not active on the street, he is active in all the internal activities of the Ganatantra Mancha and the Nagorik Oikko.

Mahmudur Rahman was imprisoned for more than one and a half years after being arrested in 2015. Different sorts of propagandas have been spread on social media against the top leaders of the Ganatantra Mancha amid the mass arrest of opposition leaders and activists.

Under these circumstances, Mahmudur Rahman is also in fear of getting arrested. Seeking anonymity, a source in the party said that Mahmudur Rahman also fears that the government will force him to participate in the election. 

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Meanwhile, the Nagorik Oikko leaders also cited his physical illness behind his inability to attend the programmes like processions and rallies during the blockades and hartal. 

Speaking to Prothom Alo Nagorik Oikko general secretary Shahidullah Kaiser said, “He (Mahmudur Rahman) has several health complications. This is the main reason behind his absence in political activities. He is still with the movement to oust the government.”