A Bangladesh Nationalist Party lawmaker on Tuesday demanded resignation of state minister for religious affairs for misleading announcements over the date of Eid-ul Fitr while another criticised the government for the denial of bail to jailed BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia.
BNP lawmaker M Harunur Rashid of Chapai Nawabganj 3 demanded resignation of state minister for religious affairs Sheikh M Abdullah.
‘The religious affair [state] minister must resign for the moon-sighting issue and the national moon-sighting committee must be abolished,’ he told parliament taking floor on a point of order.
‘The moon is usually sighted in the evening. The moon is supposed to be sighted between 6:30-7:00pm,’ he said, adding that the state minister came up with first announcement at 9:00pm saying that the moon was not sighted anywhere in Bangladesh and the Eid would be celebrated on June 6, not on June 5.
‘When we got asleep offering Tarabi prayers to perform fasting on the next day [June 5], the second announcement came on television at 11:00pm that the moon was sighted in Kurigram. Can the moon be sighted at 11:00pm,’ he said.
The BNP lawmaker demanded incorporation of authentic Bangla translation of of ‘Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim’ in the constitution.
Harun said there was campaign that ‘religion for respective individuals, festival for all’ in the country, but Islam did not support it. ‘Those who carry out such campaign lack religious knowledge,’ he added.
‘As long as Islam remains as the state religion in the constitution, it is not expected to create any confusion about the fundamental issues of Islam,’ Harun said.
Jatiya Party lawmaker Pir Fazlur Rahman also criticised the state minister for religious affairs.
He said the state minister entertained the people on the moon-sighting issue.
He also demanded a statement of the housing and public works minister in the parliament over widespread corruption in Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant in purchasing pillow and other household appliances.
Lone reserved seat BNP lawmaker Rumeen Farhana criticised the government for denial of bail to Khaleda.
‘Khaleda Zia is definitely eligible for bail considering her age, health condition, social statues, gender and merit of the case. But she was denied bail because of government pressure,’ she alleged.
Rumeen said that Khaleda was jailed in a ‘false case’, while BNP’s acting chairman Tarique Rahman was being forced to live abroad under threat of the government.
Mentioning that going to parliament is a great opportunity, she alleged that this parliament was constituted through a faulty election that drew criticism in home and abroad. ‘This is an illegal parliament,’ she said in her two-minute speech.
At this stage, ruling Awami League lawmakers started hue and cry protesting at her remarks. The speaker asked the lawmakers to keep silent.
Before concluding her speech the microphone was stopped but Rumeen continued for about one more minute.
Later, railways minister M Nurul Islam Sujan demanded that Rumeen’s remarks over the legality of parliament and election be expunged.
Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury expunged the remarks.

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