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Govt making people confuse over Latif Siddique: Fakhrul

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Staff reporter
The BNP-led 20-party alliance on Wednesday alleged that the government is trying to create a smokescreen over its stand on minister Abdul Latif Siddique in its bid to escape public wraths.
“The government is trying to create a smokescreen over its stand over Latif Siddique to save itself from public wraths over a very sensitive issue (Latif’s anti-Islamic remarks),” said 20-party spokesman Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir told a press briefing at BNP’s Nayapaltan central office.
He further said the government earlier had resorted to various ploys to confuse people over various crucial issues to bury those. “There was no clear statement from the government over him (Latif) as it’s again trying to mislead people.”
The briefing was arranged to inform journalists about the outcomes of a meeting of the 20-party alliance leaders held on Tuesday night at the BNP chairperson’s Gulshan office.
Fakhrul, also BNP’s acting secretary general, said the 20-party meeting strongly condemned Latif Siddique’s remarks over Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) and the holy hajj, one of the five basic pillars of Islam, and Tablig Jamaat.
Terming the remarks highly derogatory and quite unimaginable, the 20- party leaders said Latif Siddique has seriously hurt the religious sentiment and the belief of crores of Muslim across the world.
They also demanded that the minister be arrested and meted out exemplary punishment after removing him from the cabinet and parliament.
Latif Siddique, now in Mexico, at a reception in New York arranged by expatriates from Tangail on Sunday evening said he is deadly against hajj and Tablig Jamaat.
According to video clips available on different websites ran by private TVs, he said: “Hajj is just waste of manpower... those who perform hajj don’t have any productivity. They deduct from the economy, spends a lot of money abroad.”
Mentioning that Laitf earlier on various occasions made such audacious remarks, Fakhrul said his comments exposed the true colour of Awami League.
The 20-party thinks the government cannot evade its responsibility over the anti-Islamic remarks of its minister, he added.
The BNP leader said different quarters from the government are carrying out a campaign over the removal of Latif from the Cabinet, but it was ‘baseless’. ”The Cabinet Secretary has said he is not aware of it as the Prime Minister did not give him any directive about it.”
Fakhrul said the 20-party did not announce any program to protest against Latif Siddique’s anti-Islam comments due to the ongoing Durga Puja and the upcoming Eid.
He, however, said the 20-party will be forced to announce protest program if the government does not take immediate action against Latif Siddique.
The BNP leader said they have support for the action programs announced by various Islamic parties demanding Lati’s punishment.
About the outcomes of the 20-party leaders’ meeting, Fakhrul said they decided to carry out a countrywide mass campaign after Eid-ul-Azha to force the regime hold a fresh election under a non-party administration.
He said the schedule of the campaign will be announced later.
The meeting urged the government to respond to Khaleda Zia’s call for engaging in a dialogue. Otherwise, the alliance will wage a strong mass movement, Fakhrul told the reporters.