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General strike call angers Catholics

Opposition response to government moves is damaging country, they say reporter, Dhaka

June 10, 2011

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Catholics have expressed dismay at a call today by the country’s opposition for a second 36-hour general strike in just over a week. The Bangladesh Nationalist Party and Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh both called for the strike to take place from Sunday morning to Monday evening. They have called the strike to protest the government’s move to abolish the caretaker government system and against 51 recommendations on changes to the charter made by a special parliamentary committee and which were placed before parliament on Wednesday. “This is very harmful to the economy of the country. It is unlawful and illogical for a poor country like ours,” said Father Joyonta S. Gomes, director of the Catholic Bishops Christian Communications Center in Dhaka. “The opposition should go to parliament and have their say on the issue there, instead of bringing people’s lives to a stop,” he said. Sonjit Leo Gomes, 47, a Catholic NGO officer agreed. “Stoppages like this are never acceptable. Bangladesh is a developing country and has made much progress and overcome numerous challenges. A general strike over this is totally irrational,” he said. Catholic college teacher Rita Josephine Rozario said, “A general strike is not the solution for this kind of issue in a democratic country. They often turn violent, people get scared and normal life comes to a standstill. She said this method of protest should be abandoned by political parties because it is not good for the country. Related report Mixed views on party system

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