Saturday, August 20

Khaleda asks 20-party men to defy ban


BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia has called upon the leaders and activists of the BNP-led 20-party alliance to defy a police ban on political gatherings and to make their January 5 rally a success.

“We don’t obey the government’s ban on political activities ahead of tomorrow’s programme in Dhaka. I’m calling upon you (rank and file) to remain on the streets to ensure our success,” Shawkat Mahmud, an adviser to Khaleda, quoted her as saying.  

Shawkat, also president of the pro-BNP faction of Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists (BFUJ, was speaking to reporters after meeting the BNP chief at her Gulshan office in the afternoon.

Earlier, BNP today said they will go ahead with its programmes marking the anniversary of January 5 polls and announced for countrywide protests this evening.

  • Bikalpa Dhara Bangaldesh chief AQM Badruddoza Chowdhury extends support
  • 10 detained from Khaleda’s Gulshan office
  • Journalists, lawyers meet BNP chairperson
  • Khaleda not confined, police say
  • Cops ‘raid’ Mirza Fakhrul’s Uttara residence, doesn’t find him

The party said it will continue its scheduled programmes, black flag rally in Dhaka, despite the ban placed on rallies in the capital slammed by Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP).

The party’s Joint Secretary General Salahuddin Ahmed, speaking to reporters this afternoon, said BNP would stage countrywide protests this evening protesting the confinement of Chairperson Khaleda Zia and the “arrest” of leader Ruhul Kabir Rizvi.

Around 12:30pm today, Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal, student wing of BNP, and some women lawyers tried to bring out a brisk procession near the Gulshan office where party Chairperson Khaleda Zia has been residing under police vigilance since last night

They were dispersed by baton-wielding policemen, reports our correspondent from the spot. At least eight were injured and 10, including four women, detained from the scene.

However, their identities could not be ascertained.

Earlier today, Bikalpa Dhara Chairman AQM Badruddoza Chowhudry was denied meeting Khaleda in the Gulshan office by the deputed law enforcers.

Frustrated, he told reporters at scene that as a former president he could not fight the law enforcers. He was accompanied by the party’s Secretary General Maj (retd) Abdul Mannan.

In response to a query on whether he had come to offer his support for the BNP, B Chowdhury said: “I extend my support from this moment. This cannot go on.”

Additional forces were deployed near the office this morning. Two police trucks were deployed at each end of the roads to cut off the road route to Khaleda’s Gulshan office.

Armoured trucks, water cannon and members of Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) were also seen stationed nearby.

However, during a press briefing around noon today, Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Joint Commissioner Monirul Islam said Khaleda was not kept confined.

“The police deployed there is for her security. She could have gone home last night if she wanted,” he said referring to yesterday’s course of events.

Meanwhile, two delegations of journalists and lawyers, led by Showkot Mahmud and Dhaka Bar Association President Mohsin Miah respectively, entered the office around 1:30pm. They were inside when last reported around 2:30pm.

Heat began to develop since last night after Khaleda Zia was reportedly refused to exit her Gulshan office and the party’s Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi picked up.

Rizvi was receiving “treatments” at Apollo Hospital under police vigilance and neither the hospital’s doctors nor the police were talking to reporters about his condition.

After Rizvi was picked up, law enforcers raided the Uttara residence of Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir around 5:00am, claimed Sayedur Kabir Khan, an official Khaleda’s media wing. But, Fakhrul could not be found in his residence.

Also, law enforcers put the central BNP office at Nayapaltan under lock and key last night after having a thorough raid through its chambers around 12:30am.

With BNP showing determination to stage a showdown tomorrow, ruling Awami League leaders have threatened that its activists would be on the streets to resist BNP.

The ruling party said it would also stage demonstrations, at 16 points in Dhaka, to mark the January 5 it dubs as a day when democracy was protected through elections.