‘Khaleda Zia was involved in the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) mutiny,’ alleges Prime Minister

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Dhaka, Jan 11: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday on Monday alleged that BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia was involved in the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) mutiny at the city’s Peelkhana headquarters in 2009.

Besides, she also warned about ongoing teacher’s movement and called upon the public university teachers not to hamper academic activities by launching a movement.

Sheikh Hasina, also the ruling Awami League president, was addressing a mammoth rally organised to mark the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s Homecoming Day, at the historic Suhrawardi Udyan in the city.

Recalling the BDR mutiny of February 25 and 26 in 2009, the prime minister said, “Why did Khaleda Zia go underground after leaving her Dhaka cantonment residence at 8am on the day? It proves that she had a hand in the incident.”

The BNP supremo will have to answer to the people why she went underground. The Premier said prior to the BDR mutiny, Khaleda Zia’s elder son, Tarique Rahman, had phoned her at least 45 times from London to ask her to leave the cantonment residence.

“What was the mystery of the phone calls, the nation wants to know,” she added.

“Actually, Khaleda Zia had conspired to oust the AL-led elected government by engineering such a heinous incident, but she did not succeed. The AL government suppressed the mutiny,” she added.

After having failed to oust the government, Khaleda had resorted to lies that the AL government was involved in the rebellion, she said.

“Don’t disrupt the academic life in the name of movement. We are looking into the matter whether there is any real problem. But disrupting academic activities is not acceptable under any circumstances. If the teachers continue their movement, students will not accept it,” she said.

“Let me remind the teachers that the present government increased their salary by 123 per cent. Nowhere else has there been a salary hike of this magnitude. Even then, the teachers are carrying out a movement, which is unfortunate,” she said. This is the nature of Bengalees who are never satisfied with what they get, she quipped.

“Respect for teachers is foremost in our society, but they continue their movement and stop taking classes. I have nothing to say,” the Prime Minister said.

She suggested that university teachers should quit their jobs and sit for the BCS exams if they want to get the status of a secretary.

Teachers of public universities have been waging their movement against the eighth national pay scale for the past eight months. They are demanding a separate pay scale for the teachers of all 37 public universities.

The Prime Minister vowed to put Khaleda Zia and Tarique in the dock. Over the recent protests by students and teachers against the Metro Rail route through the Dhaka University campus, the Premier said the route has been chosen for the benefit of students. Their movement is unfortunate.

About the war crimes trials, Sheikh Hasina said a section is out to obstruct their trial, but no conspiracy can thwart the process. There is no room of war criminals on the soil of Bangladesh, she added.

The Prime Minister said: “Khaleda politically rehabilitated those who were against the country’s independence. Ziaur Rahman’s came to power violating the constitution, so he was an illegal President. Even his party, the BNP, can be called an illegal political party,” she added.

The Premier castigated the BNP chief for making an “audacious statement” on the actual number of martyrs during the Liberation War. Khaleda Zia cannot forget Pakistan, and that is why she made such a statement echoing Pakistan, she said.

Sheikh Hasina called upon all not to disrupt development activities of the present government by waging any movement. Addressing the rally, the AL general secretary and public administration minister, Syed Ashraful Islam, insisted that the Sheikh Hasina government should be allowed to stay in power for a few more terms. “Sheikh Hasina needs more time to end many unfinished tasks,” he said.

Shiekh Hasina chaired the rally. Among others, AL presidium member Matia Chowdhury, Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim, its advisory council members Amir Hossain Amu, Suranjit Sengupta, joint general secretaries Mahbubul Alam Hanif and Dr Dipu Moni addressed the rally.