Nagorik Oikya Convener Mahmudur Rahman Manna yesterday claimed that there were no seditious elements in his phone conversations with BNP leader Sadeque Hossain Khoka and another unidentified person.
“I was never involved in the politics of hatred … The voice is mine but I could not hear the full conversation. It cannot be said whether the tape was tampered with. Besides, there was no seditious element in my statements in the tapes,” he said while exchanging views and greetings with journalists at the Jatiya Press Club.
This was Manna’s first public appearance before the media since he was freed on bail on December 18 last year. He was in jail for over 21 months in two cases filed for sedition and inciting the army.
More than 20 hours after “plainclothes men had picked up” Manna from his niece’s home in Banani around 3:00am on February 24, 2015, police said he was arrested by Rab members who handed him over to the Detective Branch of police.
Rab officials had then said Manna was arrested in a case filed with Gulshan Police Station for “trying to instigate revolt by the armed forces”.
The arrest came a few days after his two telephone conversations were leaked.
In one conversation, Manna, also former organising secretary of the ruling Awami League, was heard talking to former DCC mayor Sadeque Hossain Khoka about strengthening the anti-government movement, among other things.
The other call was made to an unknown person. During the conversation, the man asked Manna if he would like to sit with top army officers.
Referring to his conversation, Manna yesterday said, “There is no question of asking for dead bodies. There was nothing about dead bodies in the tape….”
About his experience in jail, Manna said the main problem in jail is that if anyone suffers a heart attack, there is no chance of survival, as there are so many formalities.
Manna said when he was in jail, he heard about deaths of three people due to this.
He called upon the government to return his passport so that he could go abroad for better treatment.
He also thanked journalists for their support which he said was more than what he expected.
Manna said “they were trying to create an alternative current” as they think the two major political parties were not doing enough to establish people’s rights.
Source: Daily Star, Dhaka, Bangladesh