Hasina dares BNP leaders to burn their wives’ Indian sarees amid boycott campaign

She slams the party as a section of its leaders have expressed solidarity with an online campaign to boycott Indian products

Staff Correspondentbdnews24.com
Published : 27 March 2024, 01:53 PM
Updated : 27 March 2024, 01:53 PM

In a theatrical twist to the political saga unfolding in Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina has challenged BNP leaders to demonstrate their commitment to boycotting Indian products by setting the Indian sarees of their wives on fire.

The fiery riposte from the prime minister is likely to set the political stage ablaze, after a section of the opposition party leaders expressed solidarity with an online campaign to boycott Indian products amidst a backdrop of escalating tensions over India's position on Bangladesh's Jan 7 general elections.

The BNP stayed away from the polls because its demands for the resignation of the Sheikh Hasina administration and the installation of an election-time caretaker government system went unmet.

Last week, BNP Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi said: “India does not support the people of Bangladesh, but the Awami League. This is why people are venting their anger by boycotting Indian products. They are enthusiastically protesting through the ‘Bharat Hotao’ [India Out] campaign.”

The plot thickened with his symbolic act when he threw his Kashmiri shawl into the flames in solidarity with the boycott campaign.

BNP leader Zainul Abedin Farroque on Friday said India’s position on the election went against people’s expectations, which led some Bangladeshis to launch the boycott campaign.

Hasina slated the BNP leaders for their support of the campaign.

Speaking at the Awami League’s Independence Day discussion in Dhaka on Wednesday, the prime minister said: “A BNP leader has burnt his shawl. How many Indian sarees do the wives of these BNP leaders have? I saw BNP ministers’ wives selling sarees imported from India before Eid.”

“If the BNP leaders have truly boycotted Indian products, they will burn their wives’ Indian sarees.

“They must answer if they can eat without Indian spices. I want to know if they have truly boycotted Indian products.”

India – through its foreign ministry and the High Commission in Dhaka – has maintained that it always supports a peaceful and democratic election, as expected by the people, in Bangladesh.

Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader said last Saturday that due to India's support, many powerful countries refrained from meddling in Bangladesh’s domestic affairs, including the election.

Some of the top BNP leaders have confirmed to bdnews24.com that their policymakers did not discuss any boycott of Indian products. They said they were unaware of Rizvi’s plan to burn the Kashmiri shawl.

Some BNP activists, however, carried placards calling for a boycott of Indian products at a rally outside their headquarters in Naya Paltan on Monday.


Hasina alleged BNP founder Ziaur Rahman, who was a sector commander during the Liberation War, was actually among the Pakistani forces that attacked unarmed Bengalis on the night of Mar 25, 1971.

“The Pakistan Army fired on the people who barricaded the roads following Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s call. Ziaur Rahman, who was in charge of the army in Chattogram, opened fire on these people,” she said.

“Not only this, Ziaur Rahman went to release the arms shipped from Pakistan.”

Hasina said Zia was tasked with commanding a sector after the original sector commander was wounded.

She also said the former military ruler completed his studies in Karachi and came to the then East Pakistan to perform his duties in the army. “Pakistan was always in his mind.”

Hasina blamed Abdul Momen Khan, the then food secretary and father of senior BNP leader Abdul Moyeen Khan, for the famine of 1974.

“He [Momen] sent back a ship and did not allow food to enter Bangladesh. A famine then took place in the country,” she said.