Dhaka stops politician from going to Delhi for treatment

September 28th, 2008 - 1:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, Sep 28 (IANS) A senior Awami League official has alleged that he was being made to “die slowly” after the Bangladesh government blocked his departure to New Delhi for medical treatment. The immigration police at Zia International Airport Saturday stopped the Sheikh Hasina-led party’s joint general secretary Obaidul Kader Chowdhury from boarding a Jet Airways flight scheduled to take off at 9.25 a.m., saying there was an embargo on his leaving the country.

A party leader Tareque Shams Himu, who was to accompany Chowdhury to Delhi, said the latter was taken to hospital instead, New Age newspaper reported Sunday.

Detained for graft in March last year, Chowdhury was under treatment and in hospital for several months before being released earlier this month.

Chowdhury did not name anyone, but said “an unknown quarter” was trying to kill him by stopping him from going abroad for treatment. He did not reply whether he would challenge the government for not allowing him to go abroad for treatment.

“I will follow the medical board’s suggestion. If the board says it will be possible to do my treatment here, I will do that. I will not urge the government to send me abroad for better treatment,” the New Age newspaper quoted him as saying.

“There is no legal bar on my travelling abroad as reports of the medical board were submitted to the court and the home ministry had also given me permission to go abroad for treatment,” Chowdhury told media at the hospital.

“If I am accused, try me. But till then, I have the right to live as a free citizen. Why should I be compelled to die slowly?” Chowdhury asked.

His lawyer A.K.M. Amin Uddin Manik said they had applied to the home ministry on Sep 17, seeking permission to send Chowdhury abroad for treatment and the ministry verbally informed them that he could go.

Chowdhury, also a former state minister for sports, youth and cultural affairs, was severely injured in a grenade attack on an Awami League rally Aug 21, 2004 in which at least 24 people, including the party’s ranking leaders, were killed and many were injured and maimed.

Since then, he has been suffering from a number of ailments, including a neurological problem causing muscle wastage and weakness.

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