Awami League leader Obaidul Quader believes the United States should impose visa restrictions on the BNP for perpetrating violence during anti-government protests in Dhaka.
Quader, the ruling party’s general secretary, ripped into the BNP and said the party was guilty of ‘undermining’ the electoral process.
“What kind of politics involves blocking the entrances to Dhaka? How does that represent democracy? The [US] visa policy should be applied to those who are conducting such a campaign ahead of the elections,” the road transport minister told reporters during a media briefing at the Secretariat on Monday.
Ahead of the upcoming general vote, the US has renewed calls for fair elections and announced visa restrictions against Bangladeshis who seek to ‘undermine’ the democratic process.
Since then, both the BNP and the ruling Awami League have laid the blame at each other’s door for the US visa policy.
On Friday, the BNP held a mass rally in Dhaka’s Naya Paltan to press for the government’s resignation under its ongoing ‘one-point’ movement. In response, the Awami League held a peace rally at the Baitul Mukarram National Mosque.
The next day, the BNP staged sit-in demonstrations at Dhaka’s entry points, with the Awami League holding simultaneous programmes, fuelling tensions in the city.
But the BNP’s sit-ins were thwarted by the police and supporters of the ruling party, touching off clashes in Dholaikhal and Matuail.
Police later blamed BNP loyalists for instigating the clashes and vandalising vehicles. Three buses were also set ablaze during the protests, prompting the Awami League to accuse the BNP of resorting to ‘pyro-terrorism’ once again.
“We rallied at the south gate [of Baitul Mukarram], while they rallied at Naya Paltan. The very next day, they blocked the entrances to Dhaka. What kind of a programme is that? We have never done anything like that,” said Quader.
The Awami League leader also defended the police’s actions and questioned the motive behind the BNP’s protests.