Special Correspondent, Mar 16 (Just News): Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) is a renowned and largest political party of Bangladesh. A general strike called by a political party in an effort to force the party in power to take steps such as proroguing Parliament or convening by-elections, falls within the essence of what the world understands by terrorism.
The previous investigation and verdict of the Canadian appeal cour against the BNP is not justified, transparent, and intelligible and falls within the range of possible, acceptable outcomes which are defensible in respect of the facts and the law.
Canada Federal Court judge Richard G. Mosley made this observation recently in an appeal filed by a Bangladeshi citizen for political asylum. On March 1 Federal Court has accepted the appeal with this observation about BNP.
Mohammad Jewel Hossain Gazi, a Bangladeshi citizen, arrived in Canada on a temporary resident visa in May 2013 and claimed refugee status two months later on July 24, 2013. He sought asylum to Canada in worsening situation of Bangladesh like repression, mass arrest, extra judiciary killing and disappearance against opposition parties including BNP.
The then time Federal Court judge Justice Henry S Brown on Jan 25, 2017 dismissed his petition for judicial review of the immigration authorities' decision.
In the verdict observation Justice Richard G. Mosley said “the officer conducted some basic research on the Internet using the search term “Bangladesh nationalist party terrorist acts“. While this search term would appear to be not neutral and presume the result, as argued by the Applicant in his written submissions, he did not pursue this argument at the hearing. The search produced a considerable amount of material from news agencies, government and non-governmental organizations and other sources. Much of this relates to the violent nature of Bangladeshi politics as practiced by the two leading political parties, the Awami League and the BNP, and their respective activists.”
The judge added “the officer focused in particular on the use of general strikes, referenced in South Asian languages by the term “hartal”. This is a form of mass protest and civil disobedience first used during the Indian Independence Movement by leaders such as Mahatma Ghandi. In Bangladesh, the officer found, both the Awami League and the BNP have engaged in similar tactics when not in office. The officer found that the underlying purpose of the hartal was to cause “economic disruption as a means of coercion against the government to achieve a particular goal”. The other issue with the hartals, the officer noted, is that they also frequently resulted in violence as a means of coercion against the government in power.”
Condemning the meaning of ‘hartal’ is similar to ‘terrorism’ the judge has said, “I have considerable difficulty with the notion that a general strike called by a political party in an effort to force the party in power to take steps such as proroguing Parliament or convening by-elections, falls within the “essence of what the world understands by ‘terrorism". It is not an overstatement to suggest, as the Applicant has in these proceedings, that the Respondent’s interpretation of the statute could capture political activities which, if carried out in Canada, would be protected under s 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, absent an intention to use violence to achieve the political ends.”
“In this matter, I had difficulty understanding what the officer’s findings were as the comments about the BNP leadership’s intentions in calling hartals were hedged about with qualifications. The officer acknowledged that the leadership had condemned the use of violence but considered that it was too late and only after the fact. Unlike S.A., there is no express finding that the calls for hartals were synonymous with calls to commit acts that would fall within the meaning of terrorism”, he added.
Rejecting the previous verdict the judge said “In the result, I am not satisfied that the decision is justified, transparent, and intelligible and falls within the range of possible, acceptable outcomes which are defensible in respect of the facts and the law. Accordingly, I will grant the application.”
Canada BNP President Faisal Ahmed Chowdhury in his reaction to Just News BD said “Federal Court of Canada has praised the political and democratic struggles of BNP. The autocratic ruling government of Bangladesh tried to falsify the previous tribunal verdict and damaged the BNP image globally but all went vain after this historic verdict.”
Awami League even not read the previous verdict, said the BNP leader, adding that, the previous lower court verdict was even against ruling Awami League for their unruly activities but they carried out propaganda against BNP.
He said, Canada government and top politicians of the country continuously saying that the previous observation was made by a immigration tribunal judge, it doesn’t reflect the Canadian government views but Bangladesh ruling party and few of their supporting media twists it in a different direction.