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7 March, 2018 12:14:35 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 7 March, 2018 10:34:47 AM
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Only relatives allowed to meet BNP chairperson

Senior BNP leaders to meet party chief in jail today
RAFIQUL ISLAM AZAD
Only relatives allowed to meet BNP chairperson

BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia has completed one month in prison without meeting party colleagues and lawyers. She has met only close relatives. The 73-year-old former premier is passing her days alone in the day care centre and is the only inmate in the abandoned Old Central Jail at Naziumuddin Road. She has been allowed to keep domestic help Fatema with her. Khaleda’s brother Shamim Iskander, sister Selima Islam, sister-in-law Kaniz Fatema and nephew Fayek Iskander Avik have met her several times. People from different professions, including teachers, doctors and artists, went to the jail gate, but were not allowed to meet her, according to party sources.

Talking to The Independent, senior party leaders said Khaleda was mentally prepared to stay in jail. They hoped that she would not be weakened if her release on bail was delayed.

They iterated that the BNP chairperson was sent to jail in a false and fabricated case out of political vengeance. They said they would free her from prison soon through a legal battle.

Meanwhile, a 10-member BNP delegation, led by party Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, will meet Khaleda Zia at the old central jail on Nazimuddin Road at 3pm today. The authorities concerned have given permission for the delegation to meet Khaleda Zia, BNP chief’s media wing member Shamsuddin Didar told The Independent yesterday night.

The BNP team to meet Khaleda Zia consists of Standing Committee Members Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, Moudud Ahmed, Jamiruddin Sircar, Mahbubur Rahman, Dr Abdul Moyeen Khan, Mirza Abbas, Nazrul Islam Khan, Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury and BNP chief's special assistant ABM Abdus Sattar.

BNP standing committee member Dr Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain said the whole thing is nothing but political vengeance. "The delay in releasing her on bail confirms our assumption," he added.

The former minister said they would continue the legal battle, along with peaceful democratic programmes demanding  her release. Khaleda’s lawyer, advocate Sanaullah Miah, said her legal team has sought permission from the authorities to meet the chairperson, but they are yet to get any response.

“We need to have a legal discussion with her. She might also have some requirement from us. That’s why we want to meet her with permission,” he added.

He said they had not met Khaleda Zia after she was sent to jail on February 8.

Khaleda prays five times a day and goes to bed around 9.30pm, said an employee working in the jail.

“It is the jailor who arranges vegetables and other food items for her (Khaleda). Two female cooks prepare food for her every day,” he said preferring anonymity. Her meals include different kinds of fish, including ruhi, pabda and tengra, and chicken or mutton. She is given “kataribhogh” rice.

Khaleda has ruti, vegetables and eggs for breakfast, he said. Her food is first tested by prison doctors and then handed over to the jailor. Sometimes, the jailor also tests the food, he said.

The former premier has been provided with two large rooms in the day care centre of the jail. Her relatives are taken there to meet her, he said.  Some 10-12 people are engaged to look after her, he added.

A large number of policemen have been deployed in and around the Old Central Jail and on rooftops of the jail and nearby buildings for the security of the former premier.

Besides, the police have put up barricades on roads surrounding the jail since February 8.  A special court convicted the BNP chairperson and sentenced her to five years’ imprisonment in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case on that day.

After Jatiya Party chairman HM Ershad, Khaleda is the second head of government who got convicted in a graft case.

SR

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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