• Monday, Aug 08, 2022
  • Last Update : 04:24 pm

Covid-19: BNP against magistracy powers for police

  • Published at 10:27 pm May 17th, 2021
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir
File photo of BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir at a press briefing at the party chairperson’s Gulshan political office Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

Govt has completely failed to tackle pandemic, Fakhrul claims

BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Monday opposed the government’s reported move to give police the magistracy power to force people to wear masks as he believes it may lead to people being harassed.

"This government has turned the country into a police state. Police are now being given magistracy powers to control the pandemic, which will be a boomerang as we know what the police will do. It will only help increase the harassment of common people,” he said.

The BNP leader made the comment while talking to reporters at his local residence in Thakurgaon district town.

According to media reports, the government is considering whether to give police the magistracy power to force people to wear masks by amending the Infectious Diseases (Prevention, Control and Eradication) Act-2018 to contain Covid-19 transmission.

Fakhrul alleged that the government has completely failed to tackle the coronavirus situation. “Through the mismanagement in dealing with the pandemic, the government has exhibited its failure and incompetence.”

The BNP leader said their party has long been calling upon the government to involve other political parties, NGOs, and social organisations in coronavirus control activities, but the government has not paid heed to the demand.

He claimed the main target of the government’s coronavirus prevention activities is to indulge in corruption. “People are suffering because of corruption and plundering by the government.”

The BNP leader said the government could never take a right step to slow down coronavirus transmission. “Their indifference, ignorance and corruption are the main reasons behind the current coronavirus situation in the country.”

He also said the government enforced restrictions and kept public transport services suspended during Eid without any proper plan to control the movement of holidaymakers. 

“People went to their village homes in many ways, facing serious ordeals. Had the public transport services resumed before Eid, people could have gone to their homes smoothly. Now people are returning to their workplaces the same way. This is the ultimate failure of the government,” the BNP leader added.

Fakhrul said the government asked people to stay indoors by enforcing restrictions without taking any steps to ensure food for the poor, destitute and day labourers. “In other countries of the world, the governments sent grants to the low-income people and day-labourers during restrictions.”

The BNP leader said the government mainly enforced the restrictions to carry out a crackdown on opposition activists and dissent.

He said their party urged the government to provide the helpless people with a one-time grant of Tk 15,000 for three months. “There are 20 million people in the country who live below the poverty line, while about 60 million people work in the informal sector. These 60 million people have not been brought under stimulus packages. Incentives have been given to garment owners and the owners of industries.”

The BNP leader said their party also proposed giving remittance earners incentives, but the government did not pay heed to it.  “Policymakers are saying the government has no specific plan. How will people abide by unplanned restrictions?”