Police deployed at Khaleda’s office

BNP yet to get rally permission, arrest continues

Police take position in front of Bangladesh Nationalist Party chairperson Khaleda Zia’s office at Gulshan in Dhaka on Saturday  late night. — New Age photo

Police take position in front of Bangladesh Nationalist Party chairperson Khaleda Zia’s office at Gulshan in Dhaka on Saturday
late night. — New Age photo

The police on Saturday night laid siege to Bangladesh Nationalist Party chairperson Khaleda Zia’s Gulshan office forcing her along with a few female leaders to stay inside.
Khaleda Zia at about 11:45pm tried to go out to visit BNP joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi Ahmed, who was reportedly admitted to Apollo Hospital in the city in police custody. The police, however, did not allow her to leave the office.
Gulshan police station officer-in-charge Rafiqul Islam told New Age at about 12:30am today that they would not allow Khaleda to go anywhere except her house considering her security.
The police action came amid simmering tension over counter programmes of the ruling Awami League and the BNP over the one year of the January 5, 2014 elections, boycotted by all opposition parties.
Police in riot gear were seen deployed in front of the office, while Rapid Action Battalion personnel took position in front of Khaleda’s Gulshan house restricting traffic in the areas.
Armoured personnel vehicles and water cannons were kept standby at both the places.
A platoon of female police was also deployed in front of Khaleda’s office.
Khaleda’s special assistant Shamsur Rahman Shimul Biswas at a briefing at about 1:15am in front of the office said that the police neither allowed her to visit Rizvi at the hospital nor to go to her house.
Khaleda was still staying at her office until 2:15am.
Earlier, Rizvi was taken to Apollo Hospital from the BNP central office at about 11:00pm on Saturday in an ambulance under police protection, party sources said.
Paltan police station officer-in-charge Morshed Alam said that the police took him to the hospital after he suddenly fell sick.
The BNP was yet to get permission from Dhaka Metropolitan Police to hold its rally in the capital scheduled for Monday to observe ‘Democracy Killing Day’ on January 5.
When asked, the state minister for home, Asaduzzaman Kamal, said, ‘It is up to the DMP to decide whether to allow the BNP to hold the rally.’
Dhaka Metropolitan Police deputy commissioner [headquarters] Anwar Hossain told New Age, ‘What permission? We are not giving the slightest thought to it.’
BNP joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi alleged that the government started ‘mass arrest’ ahead of BNP-led alliance’s protests across the country on Monday.
More than 200 alliance leaders and activists were arrested on Friday night and Saturday across the country.
Deputy inspector general of police [operation] Chowdhury Abdullah Al Mamun, however, claimed, ‘The arrests are not politically motivated…There is no instruction to police to arrest only BNP and Jamaat men.’
The arrests include 79 in Bogra, 55 in Feni, 51 in Jessore, 12 in Manikganj and four in Sylhet.
A BNP delegation went to the DMP headquarters for the second time on Saturday afternoon, but no official concerned met with them saying that the police officials were busy.
‘They [on duty police] reiterated same statement today [Saturday] that no police official is present and all are busy with the preparation of Ijtema in Tongi,’ BNP publicity secretary Zainul Abdin Farroque told reporters after coming out of DMP headquarters in the afternoon along with Dhaka city BNP joint convener Abdul Awal Mintoo and assistant office secretary Abdul Latif Jony.
Earlier on January 1 a delegation of the party visited the DMP headquarters to know the police decision over their application.
The BNP-led alliance is scheduled for Monday to stage protests across the country including the capital to observe ‘Democracy Killing Day’, marking the January 5, 2014 election that was boycotted by all opposition parties.
BNP on December 22 petitioned the DMP seeking permission to hold the rally at Motijheel Shapla Square or Suhrawardy Udyan or Naya Paltan in the city, but the police were yet to make any response amid ruling Awami League’s threat to thwart the BNP rally.
BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia is scheduled to address the rally in Dhaka.
Replying to a query, Farroque said, ‘We must hold our scheduled programme even if the DMP does not give us permission.’

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