Catholic Bishop calls on political leaders to talk and stop death and violence
by Sumon Corraya
Mgr Gervas Rozario, bishop of the Diocese of Rajshahi, told AsiaNews that "the killing of innocent civilians is intolerable" and that "people want peace." For this reason, he has called on the government and the opposition to find ways to communicate. Since January this year, 347 people have died in political unrest.

Rajshahi (AsiaNews) - "We cannot tolerate the killing of innocent people. People want peace. Politicians must be patriotic, responsible, and sit down to talk," said Mgr Gervas Rozario, bishop of the Diocese of Rajshahi. Speaking to AsiaNews, he addressed Bangladesh's political leaders in order to ask them to solve the country's crisis and stop the violence that has raged for months.

In the past few weeks, 40 people have died in unrest triggered by general strikes (hartal). So far this year, 347 people have been killed, 95 per cent of whom civilians not directly involved in politics.

Led by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), the opposition is set on demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, head of the secular and socialist Awami League, and her government to allow the creation of a non-partisan caretaker government that would organise the general elections for 5 January 2014.

The prime minister has rejected that option, and in response, the BNP has called on its supporters and allies to take to the streets and continue the protests.

According to Mgr Rozario, the deadlock must end as soon as possible. "The people are not involved in the power struggle between the government and the opposition. They want peace at all costs, and the dialogue between the parties is the best way to achieve it."

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