Calling the BNP-Jamaat alliance “murderers, terrorists and militants,” Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina once again rejected the possibility of holding any dialogue with them.
She said: “The BNP-Jamaat people are militants. We cannot sit with them.”
When asked at a briefing at Dhaka Medical College Hospital whether she would sit for a dialogue with the main political opposition, Hasina countered, “Talks? With whom? With killers, with those who are burning people? Question does not arise.”
Sheikh Hasina visited the burn unit of Bangladesh’s premier medical college hospital to see the patients on Wednesday. Many of these patients are victims of petrol bombs.
“I feel a lot of pain when I see that the innocent people burnt to death with petrol bombs. It is difficult to believe that people can be so inhuman,” she said.
The BNP led political alliance has been enforcing a blockade and general strike since Jan 5. So far at least 69 people have died from petrol bombs. Many more have been injured.
The prime minister called upon the countrymen to remain alert and put up resistance against those, who want to push the country towards darkness with subversive activities “in the name of a movement.”
Referring to a citizens’ initiative to launch dialogues between the two main political parties, Hasina said: “I went to express my condolences after Khaleda Zia’s son had died. But they locked the gates and I had come back”
Hasina then wondered: “You think people would accept such insult when they go for dialogues?”
Hasina said Khaleda Zia, her opposite number in BNP, had become insane. “The woman has completely lost it. She just wants to see dead bodies.”
She added, presumably referring to the civil society initiative which includes former advisers of the caretaker government: “A group of people are talking about dialogue now. But those very people could not even hold elections. Some had to resign and go away. Now we have to learn from those people what to do?”
When pointed out that the people took to the streets because of her reassurances and yet falling victims to deadly violence, the three-time prime minister said: “They come out to the streets for their livelihoods. It has little to do with my reassurances. But we are doing all we can to prevent these attacks.”
Hasina then turned on the media and urged them not to broadcast the activities of the ‘killers and terrorists’. “Why do you keep showing them on TV channels? Will your television stations die if you don’t show their news?”
Hasina said: “I am the one who gave permission of all these stations,” and went on to say that the more their (meaning the main political opposition) activities are shown on TV the more they are encouraged. “Stop broadcasting their news and they will stop by themselves.”