Bangladesh Nationalist Party chairperson Khaleda Zia on Tuesday led an impromptu sit-in in the capital amid an alleged attempt to foil Chhatra Dal’s founding anniversary programme.
Jatyiatabadi Chhatra Dal, student wing of BNP, organised a discussion at Institution of Engineer’s, Bangladesh at 2:00 pm on Tuesday to mark its 39th founding anniversary after getting permission from authorities concerned.
But the JCD leaders at 10:00am found that the IEB auditorium was locked and its leaders and activists started to gather on its premises.
At this, BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir at a hurriedly-called news briefing at the party’s Nayapaltan central office around 12:45pm alleged that there was a move to stop JCD’s programme by IEB authorities saying that president Abdul Hamid would attend a function on the day on the Supreme Court premises near the IEB.
He said the main gate of the auditorium was locked when JCD had got permission from the IEB authorities and police.
Later, around 2:00pm, JCD brought out a procession on IEB premises in presence of BNP leaders including Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir to stage demonstration in protest at locking the auditorium.
BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia, chief guest of the discussion, reached the venue around 4:25pm when the protest was continuing.
About 15 minutes after her arrival, Fakhrul announced that at the directive of Khaleda Zia they would now hold a sit-in, led by Khaleda, for an indefinite period in protest at not allowing them to use the auditorium.
Several hundred leaders and activists of JCD, many of them wearing colourful T-shirt, caps, with band party and holding placards with photos of the late president Ziaur Rahman, Khaleda Zia, BNP senior vice-chairman Tarique Rahman, joined the programme and shouted anti-government slogans.
JCD was founded by the late president Ziaur Rahman on January 1, 1979.
Around 5:17pm, BNP publicity secretary Shahiduddin Chowdhury Annie announced that the IEB authorities unlocked the auditorium in honor of Khaleda Zia.
After a few minutes, the leaders and activists along with Khaleda and other BNP leaders entered the auditorium and started the scheduled discussion with JCD president Rajib Ahsan in the chair.
Khaleda said the present government was trying to announce the next general schedule after nabbing her party leaders and activists but it would not be allowed to happen.
She said this time election must be held with the participation of all parties.
Khaleda said BNP would contest the poll but it must be held under a neutral government.
Criticising the government for not allowing opposition to exercise their democratic rights, she said that the example of democracy of the incumbent government was locking the auditorium to foil JCD’s discussion.
Calling the present government as unelected, she said no election would be held under this government and keeping the current parliament.
She asked for dissolving the parliament before election.
Khaleda said 2018 would be the year of democracy and urged police not to arrest and kill her party leaders and activists, saying that BNP had no dispute with police.
Awami League was making police bad in the eye of people, she said.
BNP leaders including Mirza Fakhrul, Moudud Ahmed, Abdul Moyeen Khan and Abdullah Al Noman among others addressed the discussion.
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