Tuesday, February 27

Fakhrul arrested: interviewing in DB office

Detectives picked up BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul as he came out of the Jatiya Press Club in Dhaka around 24 hours after he took shelter there amid protest by pro-government journalists and took him to DB headquarters.

In protest against the arrest, BNP has called a 24-hour hartal from 6:00pm today in Thakurgaon district, the hometown of Fakhrul, reports our district correspondent.

Four officers of the Detective Branch of police forcibly got in his car as it left the press club premises, our correspondent reported from the spot.

Speaking to The Daily Star reporter from his car, the BNP leader said the ongoing anti-government movement will continue “even if I am arrested.”

Minutes before getting out of the press club, Fakhrul held a press conference at the VIP conference room where he explained the reasons of his staying overnight at the club.

“I did not go out of the press club because of my personal security. I stayed overnight here and took their traditional hospitality,” he told the reporters.

After attending a programme at the press club premises yesterday afternoon, but “I saw all gates of the press club locked and surrounded by police and Awami League activists.”

Fakhrul went to the press club to attend a programme organised by pro-BNP professions at its auditorium yesterday and later he took shelter at the club office around 2:30pm while pro-and anti-government activists were chasing and counter-chasing each other on the premises.

Since then, the pro-Awami League journalists had been protesting his taking shelter at the press club. 

The journalists loyal to the government around 1:00pm brought out a procession on the first floor of the press club and chanted slogans demanding eradication of Fakhrul from the premises.

“Press club is not a place for politics. If he [Fakhrul] does not leave the premises within 2:00pm, we will declare further protest programmes and press club authorities will be held responsible for consequences,” Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury, media adviser to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, said at a press briefing held at the club around 1:30pm.

Earlier around 1:00pm, a faction of Projonmo League, chanting slogans, tried to break into the press club.

A few platoons of police were deployed in front of the press club, said Shibli Noman, assistant commissioner of Ramna zone.

Before leaving the press club, the BNP spokesperson sought bail from the High Court in three separate vandalism cases filed with Paltan and Motijheel police stations. He moved the bail petitions through his lawyers.

The cases were filed with Motijheel and Paltan police stations on charges of vandalising vehicles and preventing police from discharging their duties in the areas on January 4.

Fakhrul made prime accused in the cases