Mahmudur Rahman Manna thinks it was ‘foolish’ of him to join the Awami League, but it did not take long for him to realise the ‘true colours’ of the party.
The Nagorik Oikya convener was speaking at a programme at the National Press Club on Saturday with police harassment of politicians at ASM Abdur Rab’s house on the backdrop two days ago.
“I too was on the boat (Awami League’s electoral symbol). Dr Kamal got off the boat, and I boarded it. Does someone do such thing if he is not an idiot?” he said.
Manna was in the Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal when it was formed after breaking away from the Awami League following the independence. He, later, joined BaSaD after JSD suffered a split. He was elected vice-president of Dhaka University Central Students’ Union twice.
He joined the Awami League in the 90s and became an organising secretary. Dr Kamal Hossain, who had been in the Awami League for a long time, left the party at the time.
Manna lost his post in the Awami League for demanding reforms in the party during the 2007-08 emergency.
“I don’t know how much time it took for Dr Kamal to realise, but it didn’t take long for me,” he said about his understanding of the Awami League.
The Nagorik Oikya chief, who had to be in jail for over a year recently on treason charges, harshly criticised the ruling Awami League.
“The Awami League speaks about the spirit of Liberation War, but it actually does not bear any values of the War. It often comes to my mind that the Awami League has no values at all,” he said.
“If not so, then tell me: Was Jan 5, 2014, election an election? If so, then how much more fraud it can be in the name of politics?”
“And they are continuing with comfort and arrogance after that. They do not even repent,” he added referring the ruling party.
About the meeting of politicians at ASM Rab’s Uttara home, Manna said, “We, some innocent people, went to ASM Abdur Rab’s house. All right… I am not innocent as I committed treason by inciting army rebellion. But Subrata Chowdhury, Mahi…they are innocent. (Police) didn’t let us have a meeting at that house.”
The politicians who went to Rab’s house included Ganaforum praesidium member Subrata Chowdhury and Bikalpadhara Bangladesh Joint Secretary General Mahi B Chowdhury.
“Rab Bhai said he invited us for tea. But, his wife didn’t let us leave without having dinner. It takes some time to cook. But police asked us to leave immediately,” Manna said.
“Finally Rab Bhai told the police that ‘we will stay here for the night’. Do whatever you can,” he added.
He was speaking at a discussion organised by Ideal Citizen Movement on their concern over enforced disappearances, murders and abductions.
The Nagorik Oikya convener also recalled his arrest. “I was missing for 22 hours. My family thought I would die anytime. It’s an insult to humanity,”
About the meeting at Rab’s house, Subrata Chowdhury said, “We went to have some tea there, but came under police attack. Has the martial law been imposed in the country?”
“You (government) are not letting us sit at home or on the field, and march or rally on the street on the issues of people’s sufferings. You are snatching away our banners and charging batons. What kind of politics is this?” he asked.
Bikalpadhara leader Mahi said, “The Awami League thinks it will have to remain in power at any cost while the BNP wants to grab the power at any cost. It must stop now.”