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14 September, 2015 00:00 00 AM
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Sylhet BNP dysfunctional due to police harassment

REZAUL HAQUE, Sylhet

The leaders and activists of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) in Sylhet have been facing the heat for some time now following the police crackdown. As a result, most of them are either on the run and have stopped working or have been arrested. The situation especially worsened after the last national elections. At present, the city and district units of the BNP are being run by the convening committee. Despite orders from the central leadership, the local leadership has not held any council since last year. They are now mostly confined to close-door meetings or small procession for the fear of being harassed by the police.
As a result, the party has increasingly lost its organising ability and most of its leaders are now busy with their business. They say that they might return to active politics if the situation changes. In the absence of their leaders, the party workers are not able to organise any activity. Party insiders say that there is a communication gap between the leaders and grassroots workers.  
Due to the absence of any political activity on part of the BNP, the Awami League has seized the opportunity to further strengthen its presence. Some BNP leaders and activists have even switched allegiance by joining the Awami League. Ariful Haque Chowdury, who was backed by the BNP in the mayoral election, was sacked from his post due to internal feud, said a party leader.       
Meanwhile, Sylhet BNP is getting ready to hold its council before September 30 under pressure from the central leadership. But a section of the local leadership that’s either in jail or gone into hiding fearing police harassment wants to postpone the council meet so that they can also participate in it. Otherwise, they would be left without any party post. A few local leaders on the condition anonymity said that some opportunist leaders want to hold the council in the absence of actual leaders, who have been either arrested or gone into hiding.       
However, the Sylhet unit of the BNP has already fixed September 19 as the date to convene the council and has sent a letter to the central leadership for approval. The city unit of the BNP has started forming ward committees, which will be completed before the council meet.
On April 15, 2014 the central committee dissolved the Sylhet BNP committee and formed a convening committee to organise the council within a year. Advocate Nurul Haque was appointed as district convener and eight others were made joint conveners and the city unit BNP convener, Dr. Shariar and Bodrujzan Selim were appointed as secretaries.   
Ali Ahmed, joint convener of the Sylhet district unit of the BNP, told The Independent that most of the leaders were burdened with police cases. "Most of them are now in hiding to avoid arrest. But we are ready to hold the council as per the order by the central leadership. All upazila-level committees have been completed peacefully, he added.
When asked about future plans, Abdul Goffar Chowdury, former secretary of district unit BNP said, “According to the instructions from the central leadership, we are now busy reorganising the party. If we get permission from the police commissioner, we will hold council within this month.”
Abdul Ahad Khan Jamal, former vice president of central Jathiyotabadi Chattro Dal (JCD) said, due to political harassment many dedicated leaders are now in jail, while others have gone into hiding to avoid the arrest. So, it would be better to hold the council after they are released.

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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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