The government is replacing the Digital Security Act (DSA) with the Cyber Security Act (CSA) in an attempt to fool the people, alleged Bangladesh Nationalist Party secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Tuesday.

Speaking at a press briefing at the BNP chairperson’s office in Gulshan, he said it is simply a move to rename an arbitrary law and replace it with another. The press briefing was called to disclose the outcomes of the party’s recent standing committee meeting.

Mirza Fakhrul also alleged that the ruling party is trying to be sober in the face of international pressure ahead of the upcoming national elections. He described the DSA as a 'black law' that undermines democracy and freedom of press, and demanded for its complete repeal.

He said the government is trying to fool the people by merely substituting the DSA with a new law.Asked about probable consultation with stakeholders before formulating the new law, Mirza Fakhrul said they are well aware of the ruling party’s character and do not expect any initiative of consultation from them. 

“Awami League always kept democracy, freedom of expression under its control. It is nothing new, they have been doing so since 1975,” he added. 

The ruling party held an extended meeting with its leaders from all levels at Ganabhaban, the official residence of prime minister Sheikh Hasina, also the party president, in Dhaka on Sunday. The party high-command provided different instructions to the grassroots leaders regarding the next parliamentary polls.

Regarding the meeting, Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir alleged that the government is making all arrangements to restrain the BNP from participating in the election. They are trying to ensure absence of a level-playing field, arrest of top BNP leaders, and deprivation of all political rights for the party.

“Here, the most significant issue is that Awami League is once again using the state mechanism to widen its way to power,” he alleged.

He also criticised the current state of the judiciary and said the High Court justices now appear helpless. “Two justices disclosed how helpless they are. Nobody pays heed to what they say. They issue orders not to arrest, but they (law enforcers) make arrests, even those people are put on remand.”

The standing committee meeting discussed the sentencing of BNP's acting chairperson, Tarique Rahman, and his wife Zubaida Rahman. Leaders of the de facto opposition, BNP, believe that the government is manipulating the judiciary to solidify its unlawful rule. The judiciary is being exploited to suppress democratic movements, added the BNP leader.

The meeting was chaired virtually by Tarique Rahman, while other committee members joined it from Dhaka.