Govt must punish arsonists, masterminds to stop violence: PM Hasina

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina speaks at a post-election meeting to exchange greetings and views with leaders and activists of Kotalipara Awami League and its associate bodies on 14 January in 2024BSS

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Sunday said they would ensure that none can burn the people to death alive in future by giving exemplary punishment to the arsonists and the masterminds behind the heinous acts.

“We are taking required measures against the arsonists and their masters so that none can burn the people to death and commit such heinous acts,” she said.

The prime minister made the remarks while speaking at a post-election meeting to exchange greetings and views with leaders and activists of Kotalipara Awami League and its associate bodies on the upazila parishad premises.

Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s younger daughter and prime minister’s younger sister Sheikh Rehana was present.

Sheikh Hasina, also president of the governing Awami League (AL), said many persons involved in the arson violence and their masters have already been brought to book while the remaining others must be netted after scrutinising the video footage of the CCTV cameras, which are now available everywhere.

“None of those who have done such heinous acts will be spared. We are currently taking measures against them and will continue the legal actions against others,” she said.

The prime minister came down heavily on the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami “clique” for their activities for what they call democracy, stating, “Their movement means burning people to death alive and torching vehicles, including buses and trains.”

She recalled, “They did the same thing this time in the name of a movement to prevent the 12th parliamentary election from what they had done in 2013, 2014 and 2015.”

A mother taking her child in lap had been burned to death in a fire set to a train and none can tolerate such a scene, she said.

“They are waging a movement for democracy despite the fact that they don’t even know how to spell democracy,” she asserted.

The prime minister stated the people of the country did not respond to the call of BNP and Jamaat to prevent the parliamentary election, by balloting spontaneously.

After forming the government for the record fifth term and fourth in a row, the prime minister went to Gopalganj to visit her Tungipara-Kotalipara constituency to pay homage to the Father of the Nation at his mausoleum in Tungipara alongside exchanging greetings and views with party leaders and activists.

She spent Saturday night at her own home in Tungipara and is scheduled to reach her official residence, Ganabhaban, tonight.

The Awami League had won the 12th parliamentary election with landslide victory getting 222 parliamentary seats out of 298.

Kotalipara AL President Babu Bhabendranath Bishwas chaired the meeting while its General Secretary Aynal Hossain Sheikh conducted it.

Leaders of AL and its associate bodies greeted the prime minister with flower bouquets separately on her reelection as the prime minister for the fifth time and fourth consecutive term.

Sheikh Helal Uddin, MP, and Sheikh Salauddin Jewel, MP, were present on the dais while Awami League advisory council member Akram Uddin Ahmed, Gopalganj Awami League president Mahbub Ali Khan and PM’s political representative in her Gopalganj-3 constituency Shahidullah Khandaker also spoke at the programme.

Sheikh Hasina said no country can make progress without a democratic government or political leaders in power.

Although conspiracies were hatched to thwart the last parliamentary election, the people of the country had given a befitting reply to the conspiracies by exercising their voting rights, she expressed.

“The 7 January election is the victory of the people and democracy,” she insisted.

The prime minister thanked the people of the country for voting her party Awami League to power again.

She also thanked the people of her constituency -- Tungipara and Kotalipara -- as they voted her again to win taking all responsibility on their shoulders and helping her become the prime minister of Bangladesh for the fifth term.

The prime minister continued she cannot concentrate more on her constituency like other MPs as she has to take care of the development in all 300 seats across the country.

Sheikh Hasina has sought blessings from the people so that she could run the state to fulfil their wishes. “I have nothing to lose. My only aim is to ensure how much I would give to the country.”

She urged the people to remain alert, as the anti-Liberation elements who do not like the country’s development are still active in hatching conspiracies.

“We will march the country ahead confronting all the conspiracies of the people, who don’t want Bangladesh’s development. We will build a poverty and hunger-free developed and prosperous Sonar Bangla as envisioned by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman,” she added.