Gonoshasthaya Kendra founder Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury said the government has brought the Pori Moni issue to the limelight to divert people's attention to a different direction from mass vaccination failure.
"The government promised to inoculate one crore people but failed. It is not taking any step to bring in two crore Russian vaccines at a cheaper rate to continue buying costlier shots from other sources.
"Now they cook up Pori Moni or cassino Samrat stories to divert people's attention from the overall vaccine failure and corruption," he told a citizens' gathering in Dhaka Friday.
The programme was arranged on Central Shaheed Minar premises in the morning to press home demands such as vaccines for all, reopening schools and introducing a food rationing system for the poor.
Nagorik Oikya Convener Mahmudur Rahman Manna said, "The government is deceiving people in the name of mass vaccination. General public are not getting the shots even after queuing overnight while the ruling party men are being jabbed at absolute ease. The country's 13 crore people need 26 crore shots as only 50 lakh people have been fully immunised so far."
Nurul Haque Nur, former vice-president of the Dhaka University Central Students' Union (Ducsu), told the gathering that the government had completely ruined the education system.
He demanded bringing all students under the vaccination campaign immediately and reopening education institutions by 1 September. Nur also demanded release of 54 students who were arrested while protesting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Dhaka visit.
Kalyan Party Chairman Major General (Retd) Syed Muhammad Ibrahim, Bir Protik; Bhasani Parishad Presidium Member Naeem Jahangir; Istiaq Aziz Ulfat,; Gana Sanghati Andolan Chief Coordinator Zonayed Saki; Advocatje Hasnat Qayyum; Mostaq Ahmed; Sheikh Rafiqul Islam Bablu; Engineer M Enamul Haque; and Jahangir Alam Mintu were also present at the programme.