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MoFA highlights rising efforts to disrupt democratic processes in country

Published : Friday, 22 December, 2023 at 12:00 AM  Count : 143

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) has said on Thursday that the government and people of Bangladesh are determined to uphold peace and continue the countrys socio-economic development, despite many challenges.

"The government and people of Bangladesh "stand firmly" against terrorism and acts of violence as the election draws near," the Foreign Ministry said.

"They are determined to uphold peace and continue the countrys socio-economic development, despite these challenges," In the latest incident involving Mohanganj Express, the local administration, police, and fire department responded "swiftly" to the derailment caused by the removal of rail tracks.

As Bangladesh enters a "festive winter" of a highly participated and contested national election scheduled for January 7, 2024, the nation witnesses escalated attempts by a vested faction to derail the democratic processes in Bangladesh, said MoFA in a post from its verified Facebook page.

After struggling to garner popular and political backing, a faction within the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and associated allies have increased efforts to stage blockades, allegedly aiming to undercut the forthcoming election, sources indicate.

This strategic move by the BNP has led to a disturbing increase in vandalism and arson attacks across the country, according to the message that was apparently meant for all its followers at home and abroad.

Their supporters have engaged in these destructive acts to instil panic and exert undue pressure on the government to concede to their controversial demands, MoFA said.

Two suspects have been apprehended, linked to the sabotage, it said.

"Investigations suggest that this act was premeditated, with meetings held to plan this deadly act. This sabotage is a direct attack on the state and its people, aiming to disrupt the upcoming election and the nations progress," said the ministry.

A glaring example of this violence occurred on December 13, 2023, when BNP-Jamaat activists deliberately removed a 20 ft section of railway track, it said.

"This act of sabotage resulted in a tragic train derailment near Bankharia, involving the Dhaka-bound Mohonganj Express. The accident, occurring around 4:00 am, led to the death of one person and injured over 50 passengers," MoFA said.

This incident, a direct consequence of the 36-hour blockade called by the BNP, exemplifies the dangerous lengths to which these groups will go to disrupt national stability, it said.

Again, on December 19, at least four passengers, including a woman and her three-year-old son, were killed as saboteurs set three coaches of Mohanganj Express on fire near Tejgaon Railway Station area of Dhaka.

The actions of the BNP-Jamaat coalition extend beyond political turmoil; they have caused physical harm to citizens and extensive damage to government property, MoFA said.

The police and district administration officials have uncovered evidence linking these groups to the incident, including gas cylinders used to sever the rail track, it mentioned.

This pattern of targeted attacks on trains is not new, MoFA said, adding that the BNP-Jamaat alliance previously engaged in similar violent activities between 2013 and 2015, including the torching of nearly 4,000 vehicles and multiple railway fires.

The recent resurgence of such tactics indicates a return to these destructive methods, it said.

Since October 28, 2023, BNPs anti-government rallies have led to the burning of almost 400 vehicles nationwide, according to the government.

"Their strategy of calling for hartals and blockades ahead of the election is a troubling repetition of past actions. In their pursuit of political objectives, the BNP-Jamaat coalition has not only caused physical harm and property damage but also attacked essential services, including a police hospital and ambulances," MoFA said.

"This raises a critical question: Are the actions of the BNP-Jamaat coalition a legitimate form of political expression, or do they constitute a severe violation of human rights and public safety?" - The Foreign Ministry said.

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