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Country tense Ban on rally in Ctg; scores arrested

Bangladesh on 25 October 2013
Location : Bangladesh | Source : Daily Star. Image Source: Daily Star

Tension runs high in the capital and elsewhere in the country over a possible face-off between the ruling Awami League and the main opposition BNP, as both parties plan to hold rallies tomorrow in four cities, including Dhaka.

Following in the footsteps of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police, the Chittagong Metropolitan Police yesterday slapped an indefinite ban on political meetings, rallies and demonstrations in the port city from 6:00am today. The DMP imposed a similar ban in the capital on October 19.

Terming the ban unconstitutional and undemocratic, acting BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir urged the government to lift it. He vowed to hold the rally in front of the BNP’s Nayapaltan office in the capital even if the ban was in place.

On the other hand, the AL plans to hold a rally at Bangabandhu Avenue tomorrow afternoon.

Speaking at a rally in the port city yesterday, Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury, president of Chittagong city BNP, threatened to defy the CMP’s ban and hold the party’s planned rally at Laldighi Maidan tomorrow.

BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia is expected to address a rally of Shikkhak Karmachari Oikya Jote, a platform of pro-BNP teachers, at the Jatiya Press Club today. The rally was supposed to be held at Suhrawardy Udyan, but the venue was changed following the DMP’s ban, said BNP sources.
The CMP yesterday imposed the indefinite ban from today in the wake of growing tension over the two rival parties’ announcement of holding rallies at Laldighi Maidan.

CMP Commissioner Md Shafiqul Islam said the authorities had taken the decision over concerns about the safety of people and a deterioration of law and order.

For the last two days, the ruling AL had campaigned in the port city to make its rally a success and set up stages at three points near Laldighi Maidan.

Meanwhile, a tense situation prevails in Sylhet and Barisal, as both the AL and the BNP have announced holding rallies at the same venue for tomorrow.

Sylhet BNP President MA Haque said the party had already completed its preparations to make the programme at Court Point a success.

In Barisal, the police have decided not to allow the BNP or the AL to hold any rally in front of Ashwini Kumar Hall at 10:00am tomorrow.

“We will not allow any side to hold a rally at the same venue on Friday, and will take necessary action to maintain law and order in the city,” said Barisal Metropolitan Police Commissioner Md Shamsuddin.

ARRESTS RISE

The BNP has alleged that police have gone for blanket arrests of its leaders and activists all over the country ahead of its rallies planned for tomorrow.

According to the statistics of police headquarters, more than 6,000 people were arrested across the country in the last three days. But it couldn’t be confirmed how many of them were political detainees.

Of them, 264 people were detained by the DMP alone. The number was 169 between October 16 and 20.

Giving reasons for the rise in the number of arrests, DMP Assistant Commissioner (media wing) Abu Yusuf said, “The number of arrests was lower between October 16 and 20 in the capital because of Eid holidays.”

At the time, the number of arrests went up in villages but fell in cities, he said.

However, several opposition leaders and activists have complained of police harassment and raids in their houses.

Police last evening detained 16 people from the Jatiya Press Club, where Bangladesh Sammilita Peshajibi Forum, a body of pro-BNP professionals, was holding a meeting on “Interim Government Proposal and Analysis”.

Police suspected that they were planning to carry out subversive activities.

On Monday night, 22 people, mostly teachers, were detained at National Bangla High School in Mirpur on suspicion that they were planning to indulge in anti-state activities.

Most of the detainees are activists of the BNP and the Jamaat-e-Islami, said sources.

DMP spokesperson Monirul Islam yesterday told the media that the arrests had nothing to do with the current political tension. “We are making arrests only on the basis of specific allegations or charges.”

Meanwhile, Cox’s Bazar police have arrested Mohammad Alamgir, treasurer of district Jamaat unit, and nine activists of the BNP and the Jamaat.

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