Wednesday, 6 July, 2022

Bangladesh voted for humanity, not for any country: PM

Russia stood by us in our bad times and we are certainly beside the country, she says

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday said Bangladesh didn't vote against any country, but it stood for humanity in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), clearing her country's stance regarding the issue, reports BSS.

"When there was vote against a country (Russia), we didn't go for it, but when, the issue of human rights appeared in the second proposal of UNGA, Bangladesh voted in favour of it," she told Parliament while replying to a supplementary question from Jatiya Party lawmaker Mujibul Haque of Kishoreganj-3 regarding the vote against Russia in UNGA's second proposal.

The premier said the Ukrainian people are facing sufferings, becoming refugees and children are also sufferings due to the war.

 "As the issue of human rights was involved, Bangladesh stood for it . . . It is very clear and none should have confusion on it," she added.

Sheikh Hasina said when the first proposal was tabled in the UNGA, Bangladesh found that there was no issue of human rights, no initiative of stopping the war and no other issues rather only vote against a country which is Russia.

 "To see it, I decided not to vote," she said.

The prime minister, also the leader of the house, said the war didn't begin automatically; rather there might be someone who is provoking and forced to begin the war. She questioned why a single country would be condemned?

 In this context, she said, "We abstained from voting."

The prime minister mentioned that Russia is a friendly country of Bangladesh and it stood beside us when the 7th fleet was sent towards Pakistan during the War of Liberation in 1971.

 "Russia stood by us in our bad time and we are surely beside the country, but if they (Russia) do unjustified anything we don't accept this," she said.

 She continued that all have to see who is provoking and behind this war. 

 She went on saying that, "So, on that day we made a decision we wouldn't cast vote."

Sheikh Hasina, however, said there is a group of people in the country who can't eat in the normal process rather they choose to eat in different ways through twisting.

"Whatever you say they don't like because their income or consultancy will be stopped if they don't talk or defame Bangladesh abroad," she said.

She added that they actually don't want that Bangladesh moves forward.

Commodity prices to remain at tolerable level during Ramadan

The Prime Minister said that the prices of commodities in the country will remain steady during Ramadan.

"Commodity prices are currently at a tolerable level and the government is hopeful that the market will remain stable during the holy month of Ramadan," she said while replying to a question from JP lawmaker Fakhrul Imam of Mymensingh-8 regarding price of essential commodities.

Sheikh Hasina highlighted the various steps taken by the government to control the prices of essential commodities.

"A decision has been taken to sell TCB products at subsidised prices in two phases before the start of Ramadan and in the middle of the month for one crore low-income people in city corporation, district, upazila, pourasova and union parishad levels," she said.

She added "Accordingly, the TCB's products will be sold in line with the set criteria under the supervision of district and upazila administrations."

 Besides, TCB's products are being sold on trucks in Dhaka South and North City Corporations as well as Barishal City Corporation, she added.

 The Prime Minister said in the international market price of wheat has been increased by 60.72 percent while soyabin by 26.41 percent, palm crude oil by 35.71 percent and raw sugar by 8.25 percent alongside the hike of shipping cost by 14.5 percent.

 But, the government has taken various measures, including the withdrawal of VAT on cooking oil, market monitoring and ensuring the ample supply of goods, to rein in spiraling prices, she said.

 "As a result of all these initiatives, the prices are at a tolerable level. We hope that the prices of essential commodities will remain tolerable during the coming month of Ramadan," she said.

Vested quarter involved in sanction on RAB

Replying a question on the sanction on RAB and some of its officials, the premier said a section of people of the country masterminded behind the United States’ sanction on the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB).

“If the country’s people defame their own country abroad there is nothing to say . . . the sanction on RAB came as a group of local vested quarter was behind it,” she said.

 After the 9/11, she said, the USA suggested different countries to curb terrorism and following their advice the then BNP government established the RAB.

She said there is no doubt that they (BNP) have used RAB indiscriminately.

But, originally during the tenure of Awami League, RAB worked to curb terrorism, militancy, women repression, investigation of any murder or such human activities, she said, adding that “They (RAB) have worked for human rights.”

She continued that there are some people in the country who stay well whenever any unusual government (illegal power grabber) is in power as their importance becomes very high in that time.

She noted that when any democratic process continues in the country, they engage in the work against the process. 

Mentioning that whatever good work is carried out by the government they don’t want to see it, Sheikh Hasina said they always run propaganda against Bangladesh and they have a number of complaints against RAB.

“Some representatives of that group of people went there (USA) and filed complaints to the justice department and other places during their meetings, but no official of the Bangladesh embassy was allowed there,” she said, adding that “The objection was raised by the people of our country and it's the reality.”

“And the sanction came in that way,” she added.   

The head of government said Bangladesh is the only country where if any RAB person commits any unjust act he is brought under trial immediately.

“Even a son-in-law of a minister, who was an army officer was not spared; rather he was brought under the trial,” she said. 

“We didn’t pardon him, rather gave him punishment,” she said, mentioning that the Awami League government doesn't allow any unjust acts and doesn't see whoever he is.

If any member of law enforcement agencies commits unjust acts, the government takes legal action as soon as possible, she said. “So, there is no scope of raising a question”, she added.

Sheikh Hasina said there are also some people and groups in the country – such as intellectuals or various types of organisations and their job is to earn money by talking against Bangladesh.