Oikya Front defers Sylhet rally after permission snub

The Jatiya Oikya Front has deferred its first programme by a day on being denied permission to organise a rally in Sylhet. The newly formed anti-government alliance led by Gono Forum President Dr Kamal Hossain has now set Oct 24 as the new date for the event. Gono Forum General Secretary Mostafa Mohsin Montu made the announcement after a meeting of the coalition leaders on Friday. They will kick off the Oct 24 programmes by offering prayers at the shrines of Hazrat Shahjalal and Hazrat Shah Paran in the northeastern district, according to the new schedule.

They will also offer prayers at the grave of MAG Osmani, commander-in-chief of the Bangladesh Forces during the 1971 War of Independence, before the rally, Montu said.

They also applied for permission to hold a rally in Chattogram on Oct 27 and hoped to get the all-clear for all the programmes, according to him.

BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam, Standing Committee members Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, Moudud Ahmed, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal-JSD Vice-President Tania Rab, General Secretary Abdul Malek Ratan, and Nagorik Oikya Convenor Mahmudur Rahman Manna, among others, attended the meeting at Nagorik Oikya leader Md Mobarak Hossains Dhanmondi home.

Dr Kamal and the BNP formed the new front with JSD and Nagorik Oikya on Oct 13 with the general elections months away.

They have announced seven demands and 11 goals. The demands include election under a non-partisan government and release of jailed BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia.

The ruling Awami League has continued rejecting those demands, with its leaders being critical of the new coalition, labelling it as alliance of killers after the conviction of BNP acting chief in exile Tarique Rahman in Aug 21, 2004 grenade attack case.

At another programme at the National Press Club on Friday, senior BNP leader Moudud claimed the ministers remarks criticising the Front proved that the government was afraid of the new alliance.

“The government seems agitated after the formation of the Oikya Front. They have proved by their remarks that they are scared of the Front, national unity, the people,” he said.

He also criticised the government for the denial of permission to hold the rally in Sylhet on Oct 23.

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