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Sheikh Hasina’s China coverage dangerous for India and Bangladesh: Opposition chief Nitai Roy Chowdhury

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By Sahidul Hasan Khokon: Advocate Nitai Roy Chowdhury, Vice Chairman of Bangladesh’s largest political get together, Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), underlined that China’s financing of varied tasks within the identify of loans or grants was neither good for the Sheikh Hasina authorities nor India. He acknowledged that by way of this financing, China needed to broaden its political dominance in Bangladesh and the area. “Chinese debt in mega projects is becoming a bigger burden for the people of the country day by day. China will take over Bangladesh like Sri Lanka if there is any kind of misunderstanding,” he warned.

Chowdhury expressed these considerations in an unique interview to India Today. He spoke about Bangladesh’s modern politics, economic system, upcoming parliamentary elections and persecution of minority communities. Chowdhury admitted that after the BNP-led coalition got here to energy in 2001, there have been remoted incidents of assaults on minority Hindus in Bangladesh. However, he believed that the communal assaults in Bangladesh had been primarily because of financial causes. He alleged that Sheikh Hasina’s get together, Awami League, was concerned in all of the incidents of communal violence in Bangladesh.

Excerpts from the interview:

On Chinese debt to Bangladesh and Hasina govt coverage

BNP’s prime chief Chowdhury stated that taking Chinese loans was an anachronistic pondering of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Sheikh Hasina stated that Bangladesh’s relationship with China was financial. With India, it was political. But Chowdhury felt there was no purpose to suppose that China was serving to Bangladesh unconditionally. According to him, financial help or commerce will not be assured with out political hegemony. “Countries that help economically underdeveloped or developing countries aim to gain political hegemony. China is lending to Bangladesh to expand its market. Hasina government accepts it and says it is developing. But the basis of this development is foreign debt. The burden of this debt is weighing heavy on the shoulders of the people. There is no benefit to the people in this development.”

Advocate Nitai Roy Chowdhury stated that BNP by no means thought-about India an enemy.

Chowdhury added that totally different nations of the world had been growing with their very own financing. But Bangladesh was taking the burden of debt within the identify of varied mega tasks, which it could not afford in the intervening time, he stated. “If there is any misunderstanding, our situation will be like Sri Lanka. As China has taken over Sri Lankan ports, the same will happen here,” he warned.

Chowdhury stated that they are going to bleed Bangladesh if the nation was unable to repay the debt.

On minority points

“By doing a case study, you will see that Sheikh Hasina’s party Awami League is involved in all the communal violence that has happened in the country. Awami League is the biggest enemy of Hindus,” Chowdhury claimed. “When the state was divided on the basis of two-nation theory, Hindus were one nation, Muslims were one nation. Hindus have separate homes, Muslims have separate homes. So, Hindus thought that our homeland is India, Muslims’ homeland is here. Then the Hindu zamindars left for India overnight. Most of them left except a few families. Then came the liberation war. During the war of liberation, the Razakars started looting Hindus. Then they became refugees and took refuge in India. When they left for India, they came back and saw that the Awami League leaders had seized all their land deposits. Large tea plantations, mills, land deposits.”

He added BNP was not created then. “Awami League leaders have occupied the houses of Hindus. BNP leaders did not occupy the houses of Hindus. Even against Jamaat-e-Islami, there was no complaint of encroaching on Hindu houses.”

On BNP’s India stand

Chowdhury stated that BNP by no means thought-about India an enemy. “Bangladesh is at the belly of India. That is why India wants the well-being of Bangladesh in its interest. BNP understands this.” He stated he believed in good relations with the federal government and folks of India. “BNP realizes that the relationship should go deeper,” he identified.

He added that Bangladesh wanted India’s cooperation for growth and prosperity. “Ziaur Rahman’s declared policy is friendship with all, enmity with none. We don’t want enmity with anyone, we want friendship. India has some national interests here, Bangladesh also has some national interests. BNP is a responsible political party. The responsibility of the party is to protect the national interest, to protect the national economy.”

On subsequent election in Bangladesh

The most mentioned challenge in Bangladesh presently is the subsequent parliamentary election. Chowdhury stated, “We want a free, fair, participatory election. Now, the BNP is a big political party in Bangladesh. The BNP was in power five times. Now the vast majority of people in this country support this party.”

“No major political party participated in the 2014 election and MPs were elected unopposed in 154 seats. People didn’t vote in 154 constituencies. Our Constitution states that Members of Parliament will be elected by direct vote of the people. Now, if the people do not vote, then the state loses its sovereign power. Article 1 of our Constitution states that the Unitary Independence Sovereign Republic of Bangladesh shall be known as the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. The People’s Republic is the people’s republic. Where is the sovereignty of this country?”

“Article 7 states that all the powers of the state are vested in the people. The people exercise sovereign power by voting alone. So a government cannot be called a government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh where people are unable to exercise their franchise. Half of the votes were cast the night before the election in 2018. The next day, they rigged the rest and occupied all the seats. A big political party like the BNP got only 5 seats. It’s not believable. However, we now want elections where people can vote, elections that are truly competitive and transparent. This is not only the BNP’s demand but that of all opposition parties. Everyone is saying that elections should be held under a neutral government,” he identified.

On convicted Khaleda-Tareq and the way forward for BNP management

Recently, the BNP floated a proposal concerning the election construction, political construction and constitutional reform of the nation. It has been stated that the BNP wouldn’t convey any corrupt or convicted individual to political workplace or authorities. Khaleda Zia and Tariq Rahman, who are actually chairperson and performing chairman of the BNP, respectively, had been each convicted by court docket. When requested if the BNP would take a choice of their case, Chowdhury stated the BNP was a corruption-free political get together. He added that the founding father of the get together, martyred President Ziaur Rahman, was utterly trustworthy. “Khaleda Zia and Tareq Rahman have been framed to exact political revenge. The people of Bangladesh don’t believe it.” He added that the BNP wouldn’t compromise with corruption and no convicted or corrupt individual could be within the BNP management.

“The BNP has no leadership crisis. There will never be a crisis. The BNP is a democratic political party and believes in participatory elections. If the BNP gets a majority in the election, Tarek Rahman will decide how the leader will be elected,” Chowdhury stated.

Jamaat-BNP equation

Although not in an alliance, Jamaat is with the BNP on varied points; they agree with the calls for of the BNP. What is Jamaat’s relation with BNP now? How was Jamaat Awami League associated?

Chowdhury stated that Bangladesh turned unbiased on the premise of 4 rules of a secular state: socialism, democracy, secularism and Bangladeshi nationalism. “The state of Bangladesh was run on the basis of these four fundamental principles. Islamic conference was held in Waisi, Pakistan after Independence. Sheikh went there as the Prime Minister of Bangladesh. After he came back, Jamaat gave amnesty to all those who collaborated with Pakistanis. In recent years, when the BNP was in power, the Awami League, Jamaat and the Jatiya Party moved together. Also when the Awami League was in power, the BNP, Jamaat and the Jatiya Party were together.”

“A list of freedom fighters has been compiled many times. It is difficult to say how many on the list are genuine freedom fighters. But there was no list of Razakar. There are many Razakars who have become freedom fighters. For example, we have a friend who was once the leader of the Awami League and the leader of the Chhatra League. He is now the leader of the BNP, Fazlur Rahman. He said in a meeting that there are five freedom fighters in this Cabinet who are not genuine freedom fighters. And many of them came from the Razakar family and the Jamaat family. So this is how mixed it has been, and it is more so in the Awami League. There is no question of ideology match with Jamaat,” he stated.

On anti-India politics

On a number of anti-Indian political events in Bangladesh, Chowdhury stated that they might all the time exist in Bangladesh. “India has no reason to worry. Ever since the Second World War, a large part of the world has spoken against the US. It did not hinder the development of America. All developed countries, including the US, have spoken a lot against China. It did not hinder China’s development, he explained.

“It doesn’t matter if some parties speak against India. India also understands this. Indian politicians are very refined. Their intellectuals are very mature. They don’t care so much about what a group says or doesn’t say. What matters is who India wants to have relations with. With the people of Bangladesh or with a party? India should associate with the party that enjoys the support of more people. India should maintain people-to-people relations. Doing things that benefit the people of India and the people of Bangladesh,” he added.

Edited By:

Tirtho Banerjee

Published On:

Feb 1, 2023