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Govt took all steps for conservation of Sundarbans: PM

Holiday Report

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said the government has taken all necessary steps for conservation of the biodiversity of the Sundarbans and protect the Royal Bengal Tiger inhabiting in the long mangrove forests.
She said most of the rivers around the mangrove forests dried up due to shrimp hatchery over the years since 1975. But most of those sweet water rivers were excavated, making their operational, and dredging of other rivers is going on.
The prime minister said this while inaugurating the World Environment Day programmes and Environment Fair-2018 at a function at Bangabandhu International Conference Center (BICC) here.
Simultaneously the premier inaugurated the National Tree Plantation Campaign and Tree Fair-2018 and an ambitious plan of planting three million saplings in the memory of three million martyrs who laid down their lives in 1971.
She said the government is implementing extensive forestry activities for the development of coastal green fountains in 19 newly surfaced chars in coastal areas. About 2, 10,000 hectares of coastal gardens were created to protect people from natural disasters.
Wildlife habitat and fish breeding fields were created while about 1,600 square kilometers of land in the Bay of Bengal were connected with main land of the country through forestation, she added.
On the occasion, the prime minister distributed the National Environment Award-2018, Bangabandhu Award for Wildlife Conservation-2018, Prime Minister’s National Award for Tree Plantation-2017 and distributed cheques of the benefit of the Social Forestation Programme among the beneficiaries.
Sheikh Hasina welcomed the decision of the ministry for planting three million saplings across the country marking the memories of three million martyrs of independence.
She said extent of environmental activities has increased manifold during the present government with giving special importance on conservation of environment.
The prime minister said the number of green areas can be increased by adopting suitable techniques of tree plantation on road side, office-courts, government buildings, parks, river banks, lakes, playgrounds, graveyards, abandoned lands, and even on the rooftop.
Urging everybody to put in their efforts to build Bangladesh a prosperous country in tree plantation, the prime minister said “let us plant at least one woody, one fruity and one medicinal sapling.”
The prime minister said her government has taken effective steps to reduce environmental pollution and tackling adverse weather through tree plantation as well as making rural poor benefitted economically through Social Forestry Programme.
Social Forestry Programme is playing an important role in empowerment of women, leadership creation, employment and poverty alleviation, she said. Under the social forestry programme from 1981-1982 to 2016-17-17, she said forests were created on about 84, 378 hectares of land and 68,830 kilometer roads.
As many as 6,25,955 people were benefitted from the programme among them 1, 21, 507 are women. So far the government has earned revenue of Taka 331.80 crore from the programme, she said.
Sheikh Hasina said over the last nine years the coverage of forest has been increased from 9 percent to 17 percent. As per the 7th Five Year Plan, the government has a target to increase forest coverage to 20 percent by 2020, she said.

Comment

Holiday Report

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said the government has taken all necessary steps for conservation of the biodiversity of the Sundarbans and protect the Royal Bengal Tiger inhabiting in the long mangrove forests.
She said most of the rivers around the mangrove forests dried up due to shrimp hatchery over the years since 1975. But most of those sweet water rivers were excavated, making their operational, and dredging of other rivers is going on.
The prime minister said this while inaugurating the World Environment Day programmes and Environment Fair-2018 at a function at Bangabandhu International Conference Center (BICC) here.
Simultaneously the premier inaugurated the National Tree Plantation Campaign and Tree Fair-2018 and an ambitious plan of planting three million saplings in the memory of three million martyrs who laid down their lives in 1971.
She said the government is implementing extensive forestry activities for the development of coastal green fountains in 19 newly surfaced chars in coastal areas. About 2, 10,000 hectares of coastal gardens were created to protect people from natural disasters.
Wildlife habitat and fish breeding fields were created while about 1,600 square kilometers of land in the Bay of Bengal were connected with main land of the country through forestation, she added.
On the occasion, the prime minister distributed the National Environment Award-2018, Bangabandhu Award for Wildlife Conservation-2018, Prime Minister’s National Award for Tree Plantation-2017 and distributed cheques of the benefit of the Social Forestation Programme among the beneficiaries.
Sheikh Hasina welcomed the decision of the ministry for planting three million saplings across the country marking the memories of three million martyrs of independence.
She said extent of environmental activities has increased manifold during the present government with giving special importance on conservation of environment.
The prime minister said the number of green areas can be increased by adopting suitable techniques of tree plantation on road side, office-courts, government buildings, parks, river banks, lakes, playgrounds, graveyards, abandoned lands, and even on the rooftop.
Urging everybody to put in their efforts to build Bangladesh a prosperous country in tree plantation, the prime minister said “let us plant at least one woody, one fruity and one medicinal sapling.”
The prime minister said her government has taken effective steps to reduce environmental pollution and tackling adverse weather through tree plantation as well as making rural poor benefitted economically through Social Forestry Programme.
Social Forestry Programme is playing an important role in empowerment of women, leadership creation, employment and poverty alleviation, she said. Under the social forestry programme from 1981-1982 to 2016-17-17, she said forests were created on about 84, 378 hectares of land and 68,830 kilometer roads.
As many as 6,25,955 people were benefitted from the programme among them 1, 21, 507 are women. So far the government has earned revenue of Taka 331.80 crore from the programme, she said.
Sheikh Hasina said over the last nine years the coverage of forest has been increased from 9 percent to 17 percent. As per the 7th Five Year Plan, the government has a target to increase forest coverage to 20 percent by 2020, she said.


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EU expects fair, transparent polls in Bangladesh

Special Correspondent

The European Union (EU) on Thursday said they expect free, fair, credible and transparent elections in Bangladesh as the nation goes to national election by the end of this year.
“We are looking forward to free, fair, credible and transparent elections in this country,” said Managing Director for Asia and the Pacific at European External Action Service Gunnar Wiegand adding that they discussed preparations on this.
He made the remark while talking to reporters at state guesthouse Padma after the third diplomatic consultations between Bangladesh and the EU.
On Rohingya issue, the EU diplomat said they will continue to support Rohingyas to ease burden on Bangladesh and expect that other countries will also come forward.
In the meeting, both sides discussed a wide range of issues of common interest including political developments on both sides.
Trade and investment, matters of regional and global interest where the EU and Bangladesh can intensify collaboration were also discussed in the meeting that held at State Guesthouse Meghna.
Issues relating to migration, peace and security and Agenda 2030 will also be discussed.
Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque and his EU counterpart Gunnar Wiegand led Bangladesh and EU sides respectively in the meeting.
The second diplomatic consultation between Bangladesh and the EU was held on February 15 last year in Brussels.

Comment

Special Correspondent

The European Union (EU) on Thursday said they expect free, fair, credible and transparent elections in Bangladesh as the nation goes to national election by the end of this year.
“We are looking forward to free, fair, credible and transparent elections in this country,” said Managing Director for Asia and the Pacific at European External Action Service Gunnar Wiegand adding that they discussed preparations on this.
He made the remark while talking to reporters at state guesthouse Padma after the third diplomatic consultations between Bangladesh and the EU.
On Rohingya issue, the EU diplomat said they will continue to support Rohingyas to ease burden on Bangladesh and expect that other countries will also come forward.
In the meeting, both sides discussed a wide range of issues of common interest including political developments on both sides.
Trade and investment, matters of regional and global interest where the EU and Bangladesh can intensify collaboration were also discussed in the meeting that held at State Guesthouse Meghna.
Issues relating to migration, peace and security and Agenda 2030 will also be discussed.
Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque and his EU counterpart Gunnar Wiegand led Bangladesh and EU sides respectively in the meeting.
The second diplomatic consultation between Bangladesh and the EU was held on February 15 last year in Brussels.


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Fanaticism versus Fundamentalism

Tanvir A. Khan

‘Myanmar’s Enemy Within’ is a must-read for everybody! The author Francis Wade, a journalist based in London, is specialized in Myanmar and Southeast Asia. In this book he covers in detail the transition from military rule and the violence that accompanied it.
His conclusion is very revealing and indicates what the world has come to.  He suggests that “At times it felt as if those who had stayed true to the core humanist qualities inherent in the Buddha’s teachings were a minority”.
He refers to U Witthuda, a Buddhist monk who had saved few thousand Muslims by sheltering them in the ‘Yadanar Oo Monastery’. A brawl between a ‘Buddhist customer’ and a ‘Muslim owner’ had triggered attacks across the town, Meikhtila in early 2013.
Wouldn’t it be reassuring and inspirational to all to observe Myanmar’s future with the picture of a monastery bathed in sunlight with its gates open with people of different faiths finding sanctuary in the Monastery and solidarity among one another, sharing their food and their quarters!
It is easier said than done, many would observe. The history of Myanmar for the last two hundred years has to be considered. The xenophobia of the Barmans over the 135 distinct ‘national races’ or taingyintha who were indigenous to the country cannot be overlooked. The British had counted or rather created 139 ethnic groups in its 1931 census. General Ne Win ordered a fresh census in 1973 and found the number to be 144. By 1983 it was set at 135. This set the framework for determining who was and was not a citizen of the country.
When the first sets of National Registration Cards were issued in 1952, details of ethnicity or religion were not required. Citizenship was granted to anyone who could prove a family presence in the country for two generations, or who had lived in the country for eight years prior to independence. Ethnicity was included in the cards in 1982 with the new Citizenship Act under the leadership of General Ne Win. People were denied citizenship if they were not among the 135 national races.
The Rohingya were the most visible victims under the new discriminatory laws. During the period of British rule, they were designated as native ‘Rakhine Muslims’ or as ‘Chittagonian Muslims’ who had supposedly arrived during the time of the British. Although included in the British Censuses, this designation was later dropped by Gen Ne Win. His decision was driven by an increasingly aggressive xenophobia since he thought it gave Muslims a claim to Rakhine, and legitimizing a ‘foreign’ religion alongside an indigenous ethnic label. They were told to turn in the Foreign Registration cards that they were given in the mid-1970s and await a new Citizenship Scrutiny Card. The legal status of anyone who subscribed to the Rohingya identity from that point onwards was discounted.
The list was created to identify the supposed Bengali interlopers as foreigners so that they don’t have a claim to citizenship and form a platform on which to begin the supposed Islamisation of Myanmar.
‘Full citizens’ looked down upon ‘associate citizens’. The former were persons who held a place of privilege. They were above all others and Bamar formed the bulk of this specially advantaged groups. To gain full citizenship required the presentation of ID cards. Ne Win argued that this was necessary not because they were hated but if they were allowed to gain positions to decide the destiny of the State and if they betrayed the State would be in trouble. What the General clarified to everyone is that they weren’t Bamar and were therefore untrustworthy.
What was interesting is that Ne Win himself was a kayber, of mixed Chinese-Bamar ancestry. His deeply ingrained xenophobia drew a sharp line between those he considered native to Myanmar and those foreign. Those of Chinese and Indian descent were forced out of the country in the mid-1960s. Their businesses were returned to their ‘supposedly rightful owners’. Foreign Registration Certificates (FRCs) were issued to those who remained but when the General unveiled a new constitution in 1974, they had to hand in the old one and wait for the new.
Islam, rather than the ‘culprits’ (particular individuals) became the new threat in Myanmar. There was little prior history of communal tension before 2012. The rape and murder of Ma Thida Htwe, writer and activist on 28 May 2012 brought the Buddhist and Muslim communities of the Rakhine state into conflict and it gradually spread all over the country.
The leadership was in question. Instead of identifying the persons responsible for the assassination, the two religions, Buddhism and Islam became the target. Any normal person with common sense would be surprised and appalled at the fact that religion became the issue, and became a catalyst for conflict, rather than using it to spread compassion and peace.
Fanaticism has become the order of the day! Persons with ‘vested interests’ take advantage of either religion, ethnicity, caste, sex, creed or colour to fulfill their objectives of self-promotion at the expense of others. They defame religion, etc. which, in reality, had no role to play at all. If they preach violence which is their own characterization and because of their own self-interest, religion can’t be blamed. All religions preach peace and solidarity among fellow human-beings. If the majority people go astray and do not follow what is written in the scriptures or follow their Prophets, it is the individuals who are to be blamed.
The fundamental tenets of any ‘ism’ are followed by persons irrespective of this or that cult. They are ‘faithful’ since they believe in those tenets. They might be practicing or non-practicing individuals. Those who don’t are ‘faithless’. As in Buddhism, Islam has five basic foundations: ‘Iman’ being the basic tenet. If there is no Iman, then the other four tenets (Salat, Zakat, Roza and Hajj) become meaningless. There is nothing called ‘Political Islam’ or ‘Radical Islam’ or ‘Extreme Islam’ or ‘Terrorist Islam’. There is only one Islam, that was revealed by Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) and those who follow are essentially ‘Fundamentalist’. This word is not to be confused with the definition provided and manipulated by the West.
Therefore, those who subscribe to the idea that persons by birth in any religion can practice whatever they want of their own instead of what is in the scriptures or what was practiced by their iconic personalities (Prophet Mohammed PBUH, Gautama Buddha, etc.) are living in a fool’s paradise.
Buddhism is a non-violent religion and it remains so. If people in the ‘garb of Buddhist Monks’ (‘Fanatics’) make it violent, then it is their own problem, not of Buddhism. The same would be true for Islam.
Religious differences hadn’t provided the violent contestation they do now. Min Saw Mon Narameikhla, the Rakhine king fled to Bengal in the early fifteenth century since the Bamar armies attacked his stronghold. He spent 24 years under the protection of the Sultan of Bengal. He built mosques alongside the pagodas in the city (Mrauk U) that he established, and for two centuries, people with Islamic names, and coins with Persian inscriptions, facilitated trade between these areas and the westerly kingdoms. The marks of strong Islamic influence were prevalent and yet there was no communal tension.
Any why was this so?  This became possible only because religion was practiced the way it should be done normally. There were no deviant people or persons who had any urge to exploit the faith or discriminate against anybody.
I end this article by stating what followed lately! The ‘politics of labeling’ as Prof. Geoff Wood of the University of Bath had coined in the early 80s again showed its colour. It was alleged that illegal immigration from Bangladesh occurred throughout military rule. But whether this was fact or fiction was not considered, and the siege mentality felt by the ‘Rakhine Buddhists’ (?) was aggravated. This predominance had already been threatened by British-engineered immigration. The ‘new’ label identified Rohingya as ‘interlopers’ who were there to support the campaign for a separate Muslim state.
As Rohingya they simply cannot belong and reflects their statelessness and it does not stop with the legal connotation only. It goes on to deny even the inalienable human rights that one can’t rescind regardless of one’s political status. The German political theorist Hannah Arendt understands statelessness so very well with the machinations of the Nazis ‘that a man who is nothing but a man has lost the very qualities which make it possible for other people to treat him as a fellow-man”.

Comment

Tanvir A. Khan

‘Myanmar’s Enemy Within’ is a must-read for everybody! The author Francis Wade, a journalist based in London, is specialized in Myanmar and Southeast Asia. In this book he covers in detail the transition from military rule and the violence that accompanied it.
His conclusion is very revealing and indicates what the world has come to.  He suggests that “At times it felt as if those who had stayed true to the core humanist qualities inherent in the Buddha’s teachings were a minority”.
He refers to U Witthuda, a Buddhist monk who had saved few thousand Muslims by sheltering them in the ‘Yadanar Oo Monastery’. A brawl between a ‘Buddhist customer’ and a ‘Muslim owner’ had triggered attacks across the town, Meikhtila in early 2013.
Wouldn’t it be reassuring and inspirational to all to observe Myanmar’s future with the picture of a monastery bathed in sunlight with its gates open with people of different faiths finding sanctuary in the Monastery and solidarity among one another, sharing their food and their quarters!
It is easier said than done, many would observe. The history of Myanmar for the last two hundred years has to be considered. The xenophobia of the Barmans over the 135 distinct ‘national races’ or taingyintha who were indigenous to the country cannot be overlooked. The British had counted or rather created 139 ethnic groups in its 1931 census. General Ne Win ordered a fresh census in 1973 and found the number to be 144. By 1983 it was set at 135. This set the framework for determining who was and was not a citizen of the country.
When the first sets of National Registration Cards were issued in 1952, details of ethnicity or religion were not required. Citizenship was granted to anyone who could prove a family presence in the country for two generations, or who had lived in the country for eight years prior to independence. Ethnicity was included in the cards in 1982 with the new Citizenship Act under the leadership of General Ne Win. People were denied citizenship if they were not among the 135 national races.
The Rohingya were the most visible victims under the new discriminatory laws. During the period of British rule, they were designated as native ‘Rakhine Muslims’ or as ‘Chittagonian Muslims’ who had supposedly arrived during the time of the British. Although included in the British Censuses, this designation was later dropped by Gen Ne Win. His decision was driven by an increasingly aggressive xenophobia since he thought it gave Muslims a claim to Rakhine, and legitimizing a ‘foreign’ religion alongside an indigenous ethnic label. They were told to turn in the Foreign Registration cards that they were given in the mid-1970s and await a new Citizenship Scrutiny Card. The legal status of anyone who subscribed to the Rohingya identity from that point onwards was discounted.
The list was created to identify the supposed Bengali interlopers as foreigners so that they don’t have a claim to citizenship and form a platform on which to begin the supposed Islamisation of Myanmar.
‘Full citizens’ looked down upon ‘associate citizens’. The former were persons who held a place of privilege. They were above all others and Bamar formed the bulk of this specially advantaged groups. To gain full citizenship required the presentation of ID cards. Ne Win argued that this was necessary not because they were hated but if they were allowed to gain positions to decide the destiny of the State and if they betrayed the State would be in trouble. What the General clarified to everyone is that they weren’t Bamar and were therefore untrustworthy.
What was interesting is that Ne Win himself was a kayber, of mixed Chinese-Bamar ancestry. His deeply ingrained xenophobia drew a sharp line between those he considered native to Myanmar and those foreign. Those of Chinese and Indian descent were forced out of the country in the mid-1960s. Their businesses were returned to their ‘supposedly rightful owners’. Foreign Registration Certificates (FRCs) were issued to those who remained but when the General unveiled a new constitution in 1974, they had to hand in the old one and wait for the new.
Islam, rather than the ‘culprits’ (particular individuals) became the new threat in Myanmar. There was little prior history of communal tension before 2012. The rape and murder of Ma Thida Htwe, writer and activist on 28 May 2012 brought the Buddhist and Muslim communities of the Rakhine state into conflict and it gradually spread all over the country.
The leadership was in question. Instead of identifying the persons responsible for the assassination, the two religions, Buddhism and Islam became the target. Any normal person with common sense would be surprised and appalled at the fact that religion became the issue, and became a catalyst for conflict, rather than using it to spread compassion and peace.
Fanaticism has become the order of the day! Persons with ‘vested interests’ take advantage of either religion, ethnicity, caste, sex, creed or colour to fulfill their objectives of self-promotion at the expense of others. They defame religion, etc. which, in reality, had no role to play at all. If they preach violence which is their own characterization and because of their own self-interest, religion can’t be blamed. All religions preach peace and solidarity among fellow human-beings. If the majority people go astray and do not follow what is written in the scriptures or follow their Prophets, it is the individuals who are to be blamed.
The fundamental tenets of any ‘ism’ are followed by persons irrespective of this or that cult. They are ‘faithful’ since they believe in those tenets. They might be practicing or non-practicing individuals. Those who don’t are ‘faithless’. As in Buddhism, Islam has five basic foundations: ‘Iman’ being the basic tenet. If there is no Iman, then the other four tenets (Salat, Zakat, Roza and Hajj) become meaningless. There is nothing called ‘Political Islam’ or ‘Radical Islam’ or ‘Extreme Islam’ or ‘Terrorist Islam’. There is only one Islam, that was revealed by Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) and those who follow are essentially ‘Fundamentalist’. This word is not to be confused with the definition provided and manipulated by the West.
Therefore, those who subscribe to the idea that persons by birth in any religion can practice whatever they want of their own instead of what is in the scriptures or what was practiced by their iconic personalities (Prophet Mohammed PBUH, Gautama Buddha, etc.) are living in a fool’s paradise.
Buddhism is a non-violent religion and it remains so. If people in the ‘garb of Buddhist Monks’ (‘Fanatics’) make it violent, then it is their own problem, not of Buddhism. The same would be true for Islam.
Religious differences hadn’t provided the violent contestation they do now. Min Saw Mon Narameikhla, the Rakhine king fled to Bengal in the early fifteenth century since the Bamar armies attacked his stronghold. He spent 24 years under the protection of the Sultan of Bengal. He built mosques alongside the pagodas in the city (Mrauk U) that he established, and for two centuries, people with Islamic names, and coins with Persian inscriptions, facilitated trade between these areas and the westerly kingdoms. The marks of strong Islamic influence were prevalent and yet there was no communal tension.
Any why was this so?  This became possible only because religion was practiced the way it should be done normally. There were no deviant people or persons who had any urge to exploit the faith or discriminate against anybody.
I end this article by stating what followed lately! The ‘politics of labeling’ as Prof. Geoff Wood of the University of Bath had coined in the early 80s again showed its colour. It was alleged that illegal immigration from Bangladesh occurred throughout military rule. But whether this was fact or fiction was not considered, and the siege mentality felt by the ‘Rakhine Buddhists’ (?) was aggravated. This predominance had already been threatened by British-engineered immigration. The ‘new’ label identified Rohingya as ‘interlopers’ who were there to support the campaign for a separate Muslim state.
As Rohingya they simply cannot belong and reflects their statelessness and it does not stop with the legal connotation only. It goes on to deny even the inalienable human rights that one can’t rescind regardless of one’s political status. The German political theorist Hannah Arendt understands statelessness so very well with the machinations of the Nazis ‘that a man who is nothing but a man has lost the very qualities which make it possible for other people to treat him as a fellow-man”.


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Leftist parties form new Left Democratic Alliance

Special Correspondent

Eight leftist parties, including the Communist Party of Bangladesh or CPB, Bangladesher Samajtantrik Dal or BaSaD and Ganasanghati Andolan, have floated a new alliance with an eye on the parliamentary elections.
They announced the ‘Bam Ganatantrik Jote’ or Left Democratic Alliance at the CPB headquarters Mukti Bhaban in Dhaka’s Purana Paltan on Wednesday.
Saiful Haque, the general secretary of the Biplobi Workers Party or Revolutionary Workers Party of Bangladesh (RWPB), has been tasked with coordinating among the parties in the new alliance.
The other parties in the new bloc are the BaSaD (Marxist), the United Communist League of Bangladesh, Ganatantrik Biplobi Party and Samajtantrik Andolan.
CPB President Mujahidul Islam said they would try to garner support of the voters.
“But it’s not an election alliance. Elections are a part of our overall movement,” he said.
“We can contest in elections for the sake of the movement, or we can boycott as well,” said Selim, whose party stayed away from the 2014 general election.
The next election is scheduled by the end of this year.
Leftist parties like Rashed Khan Menon’s Workers Party of Bangladesh, JSD of Hasanul Huq Inu and Samybadi Dal of Dilip Barua had earlier joined the ruling Awami League-led coalition.
Those parties which joined the ‘fascist’ ruling coalition would not be called into the new alliance, Selim said adding “Our fight is against them, too,”.
Saiful, who is a leader of the breakaway party of Menon’s Workers Party now, announced a series of programmes as the coordinator of the new alliance.
They will organise rallies across Bangladesh against the ‘misrule and corruption’ on July 24, discussion on ways to ensure citizens’ right to vote on Aug 4, and rallies and processions in six main cities on Aug 10 and 11.
BSD General Secretary Khalequzzaman, CPB General Secretary Shah Alam, Chief Coordinator of Ganasanghati Andolan, Zonayed Saki, RWPB General Secretary Moshrefa Mishu, BSD (Marxist) leader Shuvranshu Chakraborty, United Communist League General Secrtary Mosharraf Hossain Nannu, and Samajtantrik Andolan Convenor Hamidul Haque were also present.
Saiful said the alliance’s central council will be formed with two members from each of the parties.
One from each party will take turns to act as the coordinator for three months, he added.

Comment

Special Correspondent

Eight leftist parties, including the Communist Party of Bangladesh or CPB, Bangladesher Samajtantrik Dal or BaSaD and Ganasanghati Andolan, have floated a new alliance with an eye on the parliamentary elections.
They announced the ‘Bam Ganatantrik Jote’ or Left Democratic Alliance at the CPB headquarters Mukti Bhaban in Dhaka’s Purana Paltan on Wednesday.
Saiful Haque, the general secretary of the Biplobi Workers Party or Revolutionary Workers Party of Bangladesh (RWPB), has been tasked with coordinating among the parties in the new alliance.
The other parties in the new bloc are the BaSaD (Marxist), the United Communist League of Bangladesh, Ganatantrik Biplobi Party and Samajtantrik Andolan.
CPB President Mujahidul Islam said they would try to garner support of the voters.
“But it’s not an election alliance. Elections are a part of our overall movement,” he said.
“We can contest in elections for the sake of the movement, or we can boycott as well,” said Selim, whose party stayed away from the 2014 general election.
The next election is scheduled by the end of this year.
Leftist parties like Rashed Khan Menon’s Workers Party of Bangladesh, JSD of Hasanul Huq Inu and Samybadi Dal of Dilip Barua had earlier joined the ruling Awami League-led coalition.
Those parties which joined the ‘fascist’ ruling coalition would not be called into the new alliance, Selim said adding “Our fight is against them, too,”.
Saiful, who is a leader of the breakaway party of Menon’s Workers Party now, announced a series of programmes as the coordinator of the new alliance.
They will organise rallies across Bangladesh against the ‘misrule and corruption’ on July 24, discussion on ways to ensure citizens’ right to vote on Aug 4, and rallies and processions in six main cities on Aug 10 and 11.
BSD General Secretary Khalequzzaman, CPB General Secretary Shah Alam, Chief Coordinator of Ganasanghati Andolan, Zonayed Saki, RWPB General Secretary Moshrefa Mishu, BSD (Marxist) leader Shuvranshu Chakraborty, United Communist League General Secrtary Mosharraf Hossain Nannu, and Samajtantrik Andolan Convenor Hamidul Haque were also present.
Saiful said the alliance’s central council will be formed with two members from each of the parties.
One from each party will take turns to act as the coordinator for three months, he added.


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