POST TIME: 6 February, 2018 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 6 February, 2018 01:12:56 AM
Khaleda visits shrines at Sylhet ahead of court verdict

Khaleda visits shrines at Sylhet ahead of court verdict

BNP leaders and activists gather on the road at Bhairab bus stand in Kishoreganj to greet party chairperson Khaleda Zia as her motorcade passes through the area on the way to Sylhet yesterday. Independent Photo

Days ahead of the court verdict in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case, BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia yesterday visited shrines of Hazrat Shahjalal (RA) and Hazrat Shah Poran (RA) in Sylhet. She, along with her party collegues, offered fateha and prayers at the two shrines in the evening. Khaleda's visit has ultimately turned into a major show of strength in Sylhet as the mazar premises and its adjacent areas were flooded with people. It took over seven hours to reach the holy city from the capital city of Dhaka. She started her journey from her Gulshan residence at 9:15am and reached the north-eastern city at 4:30pm.

On her way, a large number of party leaders and activists, carrying banners and festoons, greeted her at different places on the Dhaka-Sylhet Highway.

After completion of the programmes in Sylhet, Khaleda Zia’s motorcade started for Dhaka from Sylhet circuit house at about 9:45pm yesterday. Party leaders alleged that police obstructed party supporters and enthusiastic people to gather on the roadside to have a glimpse of the former premier and greet her.

However, the presence of party leaders and activists on her way was less than that during her Cox’s Bazar trip in October last year.

Police detained a number of BNP leaders and activists from the roadside, but many of them, including party law affairs secretary Sanaullah Miah, were released later on.

Party leaders and activists chanted slogans like “Khaleda has no fear, we did not stay away from the streets,” “amar netri amar maa, bondi hote dibona” (my leader, my mother, we will not give her to pour in jail).

Awami League (AL) activists organised a “sandal march” at Bhelanagar at Shibpur, Narsingdi, in the presence of policemen when Khaleda’s motorcade was passing through the area.

The activists chanted slogan with the name of AL leader Saiful Islam Khan Biru, who is also Monohordi upazila chairman.

Local BNP leaders alleged that the police detained 13 leaders and activists of their party in the district and 35 from Sylhet.

Party leaders and activists were found largely after the motorcade crossed the Kanchpur bridge.

The areas where huge gatherings were found included Gausia, Mdhobdi, Bhelanagar, Kunderpara, Kamartek, Kararchar, Baroycha bazar, Mahmudabad, Bhoirab, Durjoy intersection, Manikpur, Sayestaganj, Mirpurbazar, Sherpir intersection, Goyalabazar, Tajour, Doyamir bazar, Rashidpur, Lala bazar and Chondipoll.

Khaleda stopped at several places amd exchanged greetings with party leaders and activists. The motorcade entered the city at 4:00pm and took half an hour to reach the circuit house.

BNP leaders Mirza Abbas, Abdul Moin Khan, Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury, Dr AZM Zahid Hossain, Shajahan Omar, Shama Obayed, Taboth Awal and Abul Kalam Azad Siddiqui accompnied the former premier.

Khaleda paid the visit a week after Prime Miinster Sheikh Hasina started her election campaign and sought votes for her party after offering prayers at the shrine of Hazrat Shahjalal (RA) on January 30.

Meanwhile, After the Khaleda convoy crossed the Bhairab area in Kishoreganj, BNP activists who converged along the road, clashed with police. Officer-in-charge (OC) of Bhairab Police Station Mokhlesur Rahman told the Independent that the BNP men attacked police after the convoy crossed the area.

The police had to fire blanks to disperse the marauding BNP men, the OC added.

Huge contingents of police were deployed in different strategic places along with riot cars, prision vans and water cannons creating a panic among BNP leaders and activists, claimed some party leaders.

Meanwhile, BNP Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, at a press conference at party central office, accused police of imposing undeclared curfew on Dhaka-Sylhet Highway during Khaleda’s visit to Sylhet.

He alleged that police arrested many leaders and activists who gathered on the highways to greet the party chief. The leader demanded immediate release of the arrested leaders.