POST TIME: 11 September, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Demo for Khaleda Release
About 200 leaders, activists held: BNP
Staff Reporter

About 200 leaders, activists held: BNP

Police arrest ‘BNP activists’ from Shilpakala Academy area in the capital yesterday after they attend a human chain programme in front of the National Press Club demanding proper treatment and release of Khaleda Zia. Focus Bangla Photo

The BNP yesterday reiterated the demands for the release of party chairperson Khaleda Zia from prison before the next general election and her proper treatment in a specialised hospital. Speaking at a human chain programme in front of Jatiya Press Club, BNP leaders warned that they would not take part in the forthcoming polls if the former premier was kept in jail.

“Deshnetri Khaleda Zia should be released immediately. There will be no acceptable election by keeping our leader confined in prison,” said BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir. He also said that if Khaleda, who is serving a five-year term in a graft case, was released, it would mean that the government wanted to hold a fair election.

The human chain was part of the BNP’s city- and district-level programmes in the country to demand Khaleda’s release. At one stage of the programme, the movement of vehicles was stalled and this created traffic congestion in the surrounding areas. Later at a press conference, the BNP alleged that plainclothes policemen had detained many leaders and activists from inside and around the Jatiya Press Club, Purana Paltan and Segunbagicha areas during and after the hour-long human chain programme that began at 11 am.

BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi claimed that around 200 party leaders and activists were arrested from the city and other parts of the country “without any provocation”.

Those arrested included BNP assistant climate change affairs assistant secretary Mostafizur Rahman Babul, executive member Abdul Motin and Labour Party leader Mahbubul Alam.

Our Gazipur Correspondent reports that at least 20 leaders and activists, including Mohila Dal leader Anowara Begum and Jubo Dal leader Sajedul Islam Mollah, had received bullet injuries when police attacked them in front of the BNP office.

Shah Reazul Hannan, son of the late BNP leader Brig. Gen. ASM Hannan Shah, and ward councilor Hannan Miah Hannu were among those arrested during the programme.

Earlier at the human chain programme in Dhaka, Fakhrul emphasised the need for national unity against the government. “We have to get united today. All political parties and organisations have to forge a strong movement to defeat the government. The people’s demand has to be realised and the nation has to be freed from misrule,” he said.

The BNP leader also said the government must resign before the announcement of the poll schedule, an election-time neutral government has to be formed, Parliament should be dissolved, the Army should be deployed and the Election Commission (EC) should be reconstituted so that the polls are held in a free, fair and acceptable manner. “Otherwise, there will be no election in the country. The people won’t allow it,” he added.

Fakhrul said even though the High Court (HC) had granted bail to Khaleda, the government was delaying her release by implicating her in a series of “false cases”.  He also accused the government of arresting BNP leaders and activists across the country by filing false cases against them. “This is a government plot to hold the general election by keeping Khaleda and the BNP outside the poll process,” he said. Echoing the allegation, BNP standing committee member Dr Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain said the AL wanted to hold another “farcical election” like the one on January 5, 2014.

“But the countrymen are united. The next election must be held under a neutral government. People around the world also want to see an inclusive election in Bangladesh,” he added.

BNP leaders Dr Abdul Moin Khan, Nazrul Islam Khan, Abdullah Al Noman, Selima Rahman, Barkatullah Bulu, Dr AZM Zahid Hossain, Shamsuzzaman Dudu, Shawkat Mahmud, Amanullah Aman and Syed Moazzem Hossain Alal also spoke at the human chain programme.