Dhaka, Feb 23: Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has accused Opposition leader Khaleda Zia of harbouring false hopes of the military staging a coup to unseat her government, even as four more persons were killed today in the ongoing political turmoil that has claimed over 100 lives. “Zia is hoping for a military intervention. She thinks someone in uniform will put her in power,” the Prime Minister said here yesterday, taking a dig at her arch rival and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chief.
The Premier said the consequences of such interventions appeared counter-productive to the ex-coup leaders or military rulers in the past and the Constitution now incorporated a provision of sentencing to death the usurpers. “There’s provision for capital punishment (for unauthorised takeovers). Those you are waiting for are aware of the consequences,” she said. Bangladesh has faced several military coups since independence.
“So everybody knows the result. I don’t believe anyone will dare step into the fire…Then who would give her (Zia) such assurances?” Hasina asked.
She said it is not possible to foist an unconstitutional authority on Bangladesh by pursuing a violent movement that lacks political support.
The army in a statement earlier this month said they would remain loyal to Constitution amid unrest in Bangladesh. It said that “a few section of media have been disseminating information or comments based on speculation and presumption which are unfortunate.” Zia’s party, which boycotted the 2014 general election, is enforcing a violent blockade across Bangladesh, demanding a fresh election.
Over 100 people have been killed since the agitations started on January 5. In the latest such incident, a mob lynched four alleged arsonists in the capital early this morning, according to police. The prime minister has already eliminated the possibility of talks with the agitating BNP-led coalition to end current political deadlock. The Premier’s comments came a day after two leaked separate telephone conversations of a political forum convenor, Mahmudur Rahman Manna with BNP leader Sadek Hossain Khoka and a suspected former army officer abroad over military intervention, sparked uproar on social media.
Manna was reportedly heard discussing means of a military intervention to end the rule of Awami League, a party he once belonged to, in the conversation with the former military officer who assured him of linking him to the senior serving army generals in the country.