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28 October, 2018 11:10:35 AM

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The first meeting of unity front—what does it portend?

My fear is that this so-called unity front will not survive for very long and it will prove once again that Dr. Kamal Hossain is neither an able and acceptable leader to unite a nation or lead a united movement
Abdul Gaffar choudhury
The first meeting of unity front—what does it portend?

How can one define the first meeting of the unity front in Sylhet? The much expected meeting which was delayed because at first police did not give permission, was finally held with some success. People assembled in a large number at the meeting but their expectation was not fulfilled.

There was much publicity that a very important programme will be announced in this meeting, but no such agenda was announced. Only Dr. Kamal Hossain asked people to get ready to join the movement for the restoration of democracy in the country. This call had been given to the people not only by Dr. Kamal Hossain but other BNP and Jamaat leaders as well. But the movement never happened. Some observers questioned if these leaders cannot give a program for peaceful movement to the people then why they utter such threats in every meeting- small or large?

Before the birth of the unity front BNP declared a program of movement from their meeting at Sohrawardy Uddan. They decided to start a movement from different districts and Upazilla headquarters immediately. Two very insignificant meetings were held at two places where they submitted memorandums to the local authorities. Afterwards a national unity front was formed with BNP and they declared their first meeting will be held at Sylhet. For police intervention they could not hold that meeting. But at last the meeting was held last on Wednesday, 24 October. But no programme of movement was declared and the leaders repeated their old threats. Some critics of the front say that, at last the mountain has delivered a mouse!

One of my journalist friends who attended the meeting phoned me from Sylhet to recount a funny anecdote. The story is that after finishing his long speech Dr. Kamal Hossain was going back to his seat. At that time his comrade Subrato Chowdhury rushed to him and whispered something in his ears. Immediately Dr. Kamal returned to the microphone and loudly addressed the people saying that he is demanding the immediate release of Begum Khaleda Zia along with other political prisoners. He added, 'Otherwise, we will free her with a powerful movement'.

It was clear to everyone that either Kamal Hossain conveniently forgot to utter their main demand of releasing Khaleda Zia or tried to bypass the issue for reasons best known to him. Before joining with BNP his stand was that their unity front will not demand the release of Khaleda Zia. Their other stand was that he will not have any sort of Jamaat connection with his front. Now it is alleged from his critics that he has violated both his promises. The release of Khaleda Zia is now the main demand of the front and Jamaat is still the main partner of BNP. The Sylhet meeting of the unity front revealed that it was nothing but a meeting of BNP jote with a new partner- Dr. Kamal Hossain. The presence of ASM Abdur Rab and Mahmudur Rahman Manna only added to the number, but not to the strength or importance of the front.

On the main banner on the dais was a slogan describing Khaleda Zia as the ‘Mother of democracy’. The west side of the dais was fully decorated with numerous digital banners adorned with the pictures of Begum Zia and Tareq and also with the demand of the release of Khaleda Zia and to cancel the recent verdict against Tareq Rahman. Other posters bore the pictures of Barrister Mainul Hossain and Ilias Ali (who is presumed to have been abducted or killed). From each and every angle the Sylhet meeting appeared not to be a meeting of the unity front but a meeting of BNP and Jamaat. Some people wonder how a leader like Dr. Kamal Hossain could allow to put banners on the dais which described Begum Zia as the mother of democracy and demanding the cancellation of the verdict against Tareq Rahman, who was convicted by a court of law. Kamal Hossain has always claimed himself as a man of law who will uphold the rules of law. But now he has joined BNP's bandwagon to free the two people who have been convicted by a court of law for serious offense.

I do not know what the future of this unity front is. From the very beginning this unity front has proven to be in reality, a disunity front. Before its first launch meeting one of the main initiators of this unity Dr. Badrudozza Chowdhury kept himself away from this proposed front. His stand was he would not accept BNP in the front if they did not disassociate themselves from Jamaat. He clearly foresaw that this front would ultimately become a BNP and Jamaat front. He declared, 'I will not join any unity to bring BNP in power'. His prophecy proved to the correct. The Sylhet conference of the unity front has shown that it is nothing but mainly a front of BNP and Jamaat. They say Dr. Kamal Hossain is their leader. I apologise to Dr. Kamal Hossain for saying this. Although he claims to be the leader of this front but he is nothing but a 'show boy' of BNP.

Another jolt for the newly formed unity front is the conspiracy that was secretly hatched by Tareq Rahman and his henchmen to oust Dr. Badrudozza from the unity so that they could grab the whole unity front by keeping Kamal Hossain as the titular head. This one-act drama was staged in Barrister Mainul Hossain's chamber and some say through his direct participation, by keeping Dr. Badrudozza completely unaware of it. When Dr. Badrudozza went to Dr. Kamal's house in an invitation and there was nobody to receive him and he was waiting to be received the drama ended. Then the front was formed and Dr. Badrudozza angrily boycotted it.  

This is not the end of the story. Perhaps it was the irony of fate that within a few days Barrister Mainul involved himself with a woman journalist, attacked her indecently and ended up in jail. This was another jolt for the so-called unity front. The front leaders are hesitant to support him openly. In my opinion in a television talk-show to describe him as a Jamaat by the said woman journalist was certainly a provocation. Barrister Mainul is a controversial person. His political past is not clean. He also joined a pseudo military government and tried to harass and torture Sheiikh Hasina as a member of that regime. It was alleged that he was fully associated with Dr. Kamal Hossain during the 1/11regime to execute the infamous minus 2 theory of the-then civil society headed by Dr. Kamal. In spite of all these past records Barrister Mainul is not a Jamaati. To ask him whether he is a Jamaat, is of course a direct provocation. But I wonder how a man of his age and wisdom could step into that trap and made it worse by attacking the lady indecently. He is now no more an asset but a liability for the unity front. Their conspiracy against Badrudozza is now exposed.

My fear is that this so-called unity front will not survive for very long and it will prove once again that Dr. Kamal Hossain is neither an able and acceptable leader to unite a nation or lead a united movement. The next general election will be fought between pro-independence forces under Awami League and the anti-independence forces under BNP and Jamaat. History might give a merciless verdict on Kamal, that he was nothing but a show boy of BNP and Jamaat.

London, Thursday 25 October, 2018

 

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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