Foreign Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud has said that democracy in Bangladesh got strengthened despite conspiracies of BNP and its ultra-radical Jamaat-e-Islami ally to foil the democratic process in the country.
“BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami were trying continuously to disrupt the democratic process in Bangladesh. They tried to foil the elections in 2014, 2018 and then in 2024 by resorting violence, but they could not be succeeded as people had rejected them for their anti-people activities,” he said.
The minister made the comments while interacting with the media at Foreign Correspondents Club of South Asia (FCC, South Asia) here on Thursday evening. Bangladesh High Commissioner to India Md. Mustafizur Rahman was on the dias.
FCC President and veteran journalist Venkat Narayan moderated the event while Secretary of the club Prakash Nanda gave introductory remarks. Journalists belonging to different national and international media outlets were present, among others.
Terming BNP as an “opposition on the street”, Hasan said the BNP and its allies carried out attacks on different key (public) installations to foil the recently held general election in Bangladesh. Even, they carried out arson attacks in front of the Chief Justice’s residence and public transport resulting in the killing two people, he added.
Despite their conspiracies, the minister said the election was held in a free, fair and transparent manner in the history of Bangladesh and the voter turnout was good in the context of global voters turnout in the recently held elections in many countries across the world, even some European countries.
Responding to a query, he said since Bangladesh is a free society, everybody has the right to speak freely. Taking the advantage, some elements may give anti-India, anti-China and even anti-Awami League slogans, but this tablet does not work now. “The fanatic elements used to play the anti-India card in Bangladesh before the election.”
On India-Bangladesh relations, the foreign minister said that relations between the two friendly countries had reached a new height during the tenure of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi.
“Relations of Bangladesh with India bonded with blood as many Indian people and its soldiers sacrificed their lives during the country’s Great War of Liberation in 1971. So, this relationship cannot be comparable with any other countries,” he said.
About Teesta water sharing agreement with India, he said the matter was discussed with the appropriate authorities on many occasions. The central government had agreed to sign the deal, but the state government is objecting to it, Hasan added.
“As you (India) are having the election in March or April or May, So, after the election we will carry out the issue with the government again and I hope that we will find a solution to this end,” he said.
Replying to another question, Hasan said we uphold the values of democracy since Bangladesh is a pluralistic society. “Definitely, Bangladesh is not a one-party state, it is a multi-party democracy. As many as 29 political parties out of 44 registered with the election commission contested in the last election,” he informed.
Asked about border killing, the minister said that they had raised the issue with the Indian authority after a body of a BGB personnel was found inside Indian territory. We demanded to stop border killing and the Indian side sought apology for that and an investigation is going on to unearth the incident, he said.
About China, the foreign minister said although China is not our next door neighbour, but it is our south Asia neighbor and we have a very good relation with China as the country is a major development partner of Bangladesh.
Besides, he said Bangladesh has been enjoying a good relationship with the US and we are looking forward to further strengthening our relationship in future for the benefit of our people.
Earlier, the foreign minister in his introductory remarks referred to Bangladesh’s progress in the country’s socio-economic sector during the last decade under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.