BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir blamed the government for the worst-ever dengue outbreak in the country since it downplayed the problem at the initial stage calling it as “just a rumour”.
Talking to reporters at BNP’s Nayapaltan central office, he also opposed Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s remark that excessive media reports created panic among people about dengue, saying journalists made people aware of the deadly disease and exposed the actual situation.
“They (govt) have always tried to avoid the problem as they didn’t dare admit the fact. The dengue problem has come to light as media focused on it. Otherwise, people can’t understand the severity of the disease,” the BNP leader said.
He further said, “The mayors and the officials of Dhaka city corporations didn’t give importance to dengue at the initial stage. They ruled out the dengue prevalence calling it a rumour. But now the situation has taken such a serious turn that it has spread all over the country.”
Fakhrul said they had advised the government to take emergency steps to check dengue, but the government failed to do so. “We also called for working together raising above party politics to prevent dengue outbreak, but Awami League is unwilling to involve other party in facing the national problem.”
He criticised the ministers for taking to the streets with brooms as part of a programme to make people aware of dengue. “Dramas and photo sessions are being staged over the dengue issue. We’ve seen Mr Obaidul Quader himself swept roads though he was asking others not to do photo sessions. It’s very interesting.”
Fakhrul alleged Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s comment that her government does not support torture in custody is not true.
In an interview with BBC World Service on Tuesday, the PM said, “To tell you the truth, our government is never led by any intention to torture people in custody and it [government] also doesn’t do it (either).”
He said the rights bodies are regularly making reports on extrajudicial killings and custodial deaths. “About 400-700 people are killed in custody every year in the name of crossfire here while torture in custody is a common affair. So, the Prime Minister’s comment is contrary to facts.”
The BNP leader expressed wonder as a lower court issued arrest warrant against him and their party’s other senior leaders in a case filed against them on charge of issuing a death threat to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
“We can’t imagine such a court order. It’s completely a false and fabricated case. We think such cases are filed with a motive to create pressure on us and keep us away from political and democratic activities,” he observed.