BNP acting chairman Tarique Rahman did not violate electoral code of conduct by interviewing nomination seekers from the party through videoconference, the EC secretary said yesterday.
“As he [Tarique] interviewed the candidates online, the commission thinks that it cannot do anything right now,” Helaluddin Ahmed told reporters at the capital's Nirbachan Bhaban following an EC meeting where the issue was discussed.
In another development, the telecom regulator on Sunday night ordered gateways to block telecommunications application software Skype, through which Tarique made a videoconference on the day.
The matter was brought to the EC's attention after the Awami League, on Sunday, sent them a letter alleging that the electoral code of conduct was violated as Tarique, a convicted fugitive in three cases, talked to the nomination seekers.
However, later at a press conference on the same day, Faruk Khan, AL presidium member, did not disclose which part of the electoral code was violated.
After the Awami League sent a written complaint on the issue to the EC, the commission discussed the matter at its meeting and made the observations, the EC secretary said.
“The commission found that as he [Tarique] is now aboard, the electoral code of conduct will not be applicable for him,” Helal said.
Additionally, he said that everyone should abide by the High Court order that had barred media outlets and others from publicising any statement of Tarique Rahman.
BTRC BLOCKS SKYPE
The telecom regulator blocked the communication application Skype.com on Sunday night and later blocked its mobile application yesterday.
A top official of the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission confirmed the news without commenting any further on the issue.
The BTRC issued the order to all the internet international gateways, internet service providers and mobile operators.
A top official of the Internet Service Provider Association of Bangladesh said they complied with the order within a few hours of getting it and the software was no longer available in the country.
“However, other communication channels and applications are open for video chatting and video conferencing,” he said, requesting anonymity.
Earlier in 2015, the government had blocked for sometime almost all the communication applications, including Facebook, Whatsapp, Viber and others, immediately after the Supreme Court pronounced a verdict upholding the death penalty of two war criminals.
In August this year, the Telecom and ICT Minister Mustafa Jabbar said they would consider blocking social media sites like Facebook again and if needed, the internet connection could also be shut down to “save the state and citizens of the country”.
NAYAPALTAN CLASH A CRIMINAL OFFENCE
EC Secretary Helaluddin Ahmed said that after reviewing the police report on the Nayapaltan clash, the commission considered it a “criminal offence” and added that the police could go ahead with investigation.
Speaking to reporters at the briefing, he said that the commission also asked him to send another directive to the Inspector General of Police to urge them not to harass any innocent people.
On Sunday night, police sent the report on the November 14 clash between BNP activists and law enforcers in front of the party's Nayapaltan office.
BNP SEEKS CLARIFICATION
The BNP, in a letter to the EC yesterday, sought clarification on whether or not elected chairmen of Zila Parishad and Upazila Parishads could contest the parliamentary polls.
The party's chairperson's advisory council member, Bijan Kanti Sarkar, handed over the letter to EC officials.
He said that they were not sure whether these were offices of profit or not as the Representation of the People Order 1972 was silent on the matter.
So they sought the clarification, he said.
Helal said that the legal wing of the commission was working on the issue and they would send a clarification as soon as possible.