MAC: Mines and Communities

Countrywide daylong hartal Wednesday

Published by MAC on 2006-08-28

Countrywide daylong hartal Wednesday

Staff Correspondent, NewAge

28th August 2006

The opposition combine led by the Awami League and the National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Port on Sunday announced separate programmes including a nationwide dawn-to-dusk hartal on August 30 protesting at Saturday’s killing at Phulbari.

The combine decided on the programme of hartal at a meeting at the Awami League chief’s Dhanmondi office in the afternoon where the leaders reviewed the situation at Phulbari where five people were killed, and other political situation.

‘We condemn the attack on the people which was nothing but the continuation of repression by the BNP-led alliance government,’ said the Awami League chief, Sheikh Hasina, after the meeting.

The opposition alliance will observe ‘protest day’ on September 7. Sunday’s meeting also decided to send teams of the alliance and a parliamentary delegation of the Awami League to Phulbari on Tuesday.

A rally will be held on September 18 as part of the alliance’s ongoing movement against the government. Sheikh Hasina later had an exclusive meeting with the Gana Forum president, Dr Kamal Hossain, in the Awami League office.

The two leaders discussed the latest political situations and Kamal gave his opinion on dialogue with the government and reform proposals of the opposition, the meeting source said.

The National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Port also called a half-day countrywide hartal for the same day to protest at the killings and demanding scrapping of the Phulbari coal project and expulsion of the Asia Energy.

The committee announced the programmes at a briefing in the Communist Party office in Dhaka. The committee also planned to observe mourning day today and to hold a rally at the Central Shahid Minar at 5:00pm. The committee will observe ‘demonstration day’ on Tuesday.

The opposition-leaning student organisations have called a strike in all educational institutions for today. The Dhaka University has suspended all the examinations scheduled for the day.

Political parties, student organisations, and cultural and green groups on Sunday came down heavily on the government for killing five people and injuring scores who were protesting against at open-pit mining at Phulbari in Dinajpur.

The National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Port held a rally at Muktangan. The committee convener, Sheikh Muhammad Shaheedullah, said the multinational company Asia Energy was trying to plunder national property with the help of the alliance government.

‘If coal is mined through open-pit method, thousands of people will lose their homesteads,’ Anu Muhammd, the member secretary of the committee said at the rally. The opposition combine held went out on demonstration across the country and held a rally on Bangabandhu Avenue in Dhaka.

The combine coordinator, Awami League general secretary, Abdul Jalil, said the people had no security of their lives.

Awami League presidium member Amir Hossain Amu said the alliance government wanted to snatch away people’s rights.

Chaired by the Dhaka city combine coordinator Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya, the rally was also addressed by Awami League presidium member Matia Chowdhury, Workers Party politburo member Fazle Hossain Badsha, central leader Quamrul Ahsan and Samyabadi Dal leader Harun Chowdhury.

The Bikalpadhara Bangladesh president, AQM Badruddoza Chowdhury, in a statement demanded judicial investigation of the killing. Badruddoza said a perfect analysis of the people’s demand incorporating politicians, economists, geologists and entrepreneurs is required to solve the crisis over coal mining in the region.

The Ganamukti O Jatiya Sampad Rakkha Jatiya Committee, Communist Party of Bangla- desh, Workers Party and Ganasanghati Andolan held rallies at Muktangan.

The Progressive Students’ Alliance, a group of eight left-leaning student bodies, brought out a procession at Dhaka University, denouncing the killing and demanding immediate cancellation of the agreement with the Asia Energy.

Green groups such as Bangladesh Paribesh Andolan, Green Voice, and Green Force, condemned the killing.

The top executives of seven non-governmental organisations in a statement demanded an immediate end to coal mining by the Asia Energy.

The statement said the government made the agreements without taking into consideration people’s view. Sultana Kamal Shamsul Huda, Syeda Rizwana Hasan, Taslimur Rahman, Mahfuzullah, Maheen Sultana and Khushi Kabir signed the statement.

The rights watchdog, Odikar, Bangladesh Farm Workers’ Association, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal, Garments Sramik O Shilpa Rakkha Jatiya Mancha, Bangladesh Juba Moitri, Jatiya Sramik Federation Bangladesh, Bangladesh Chhatra Moitri, Bangladesh Chhatra Union, and Bangladesh Chhatra Federation also condemned the killing.

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