BNP slates Mahfuz Anam over article on democracy

Addressing the matter in a media briefing on Friday, its spokesperson Ruhul Kabir Rizvi accused Anam of “lacking objectivity” and branded him the “mastermind” behind the efforts to undermine democracy in the country.

“Is journalism supposed to be objective or just a mask for people like Mahfuz Anam? — this is what people are asking. We condemn and reject his remarks about our leader and the things he said about August 21,” said BNP’s senior joint secretary-general.

In his article titled “After 30 years of autocracy’s demise, democracy still remains a distant dream” on Sept 15, Anam condemned the BNP for its handling of the Aug 21, 2004 grenade attack on the Awami League, while implying the party, which was then in government, was directly involved in it.

“For those who may have doubted the BNP chief’s direct involvement with this dastardly act found themselves totally betrayed by the way this national tragedy was handled in which 24 citizens were killed,” he wrote.

“Practically no attempt was made to hold a credible investigation—strengthening suspicion of the government’s involvement,” the article read.

The discussions in the BNP-dominated parliament at the time was “both contemptuous of truth and disrespectful of public intelligence,” according to Anam.

He also decried the “Joj Mia” fiasco as well as the judicial inquiry into the heinous attack as “farcical.”

But Rizvi contends that the editor’s statement was “false”, “incoherent” and written with “malicious intent.”

“Mahfuz Anam, one of the architects of 1/11 purports to be vocal for democracy. But in reality, he is the mastermind in upending democracy, a bootlicker of fascists to further his own interests.

“It reminds me of something Shakespeare said – ‘There are more things in heaven and earth…’ Now I don’t know what happens in heaven but people like Mahfuz Anam prove the fact that there are people with many faces who are involved in different incidents.”

“While talking about democracy, he kept badmouthing the BNP government, which is tantamount to yellow journalism and shamelessly eulogising the present ‘midnight government’,” he added.

Accusing Anam of being an “acolyte of the Awami neo-Nazism”, Rizvi continued: “He begged pardon for cooking up false stories and repeatedly presenting them as news.

“And now he is trying to curry favour with the government. The vision and mission of his writing is to create baseless and false stories about the BNP and then publish them. Whether it is out of fear or to gain favour, appeasing the Awami League government — the party devoid of democratic principles and engaged in reckless behaviour — is his goal.”

Anam has tarnished the image of his father Abul Mansur Ahmed, a noted writer, politician and journalist, according to Rizvi.

“A good number of the so-called civil society members rode along with people like Mahfuz Anam and hatched a deep-rooted conspiracy to establish an unconstitutional regime in the country by toppling democracy during 1/11.

“He worked not as a journalist but as an agent of his bosses – the foreign donors and local intelligence.

“The role of Mahfuz Anam and his ilk in subverting democracy and facilitating the emergence of fascism in Bangladesh will always be a dark chapter in the country’s history,” Rizvi said.

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