Police have lodged three cases with Ramna and Shahbagh Police Stations in the capital against over 900 leaders and activists of Bangladesh Nationalist Party for the Tuesday’s attack on police.
During the attack, two detained BNP activists were reportedly snatched from a prison van near High Court premises while the party chairperson, Khaleda Zia, was returning after appearing before a court.
The two police stations produced a total of 55 leaders and activists of the party showing them arrested in the cases and sought their remand for different terms, varying 7 to 10 days, for 54 of them. The court allowed two-day remand for each.
BNP on Wednesday evening alleged that police also arrested at least 100 activists, including BNP information affairs secretary Azizul Bari Helal, from different places since early Wednesday.
The party has alleged that those who attacked the police were not BNP activists; they were intruders.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police’s Ramna Zone deputy commissioner Maruf Hossain Sorder told New Age that they detained about 90 people in connection with Tuesday’s incident.
Meanwhile, thousands of activists of Bangladesh Nationalist Party on Wednesday staged a demonstration in Dhaka as the party chairperson Khaleda Zia appeared before a makeshift court in the old town, with the day of verdict in a graft case against her was set for February 8.
Inspector (investigation) Shafikul Islam of Ramna police station filed a case Tuesday night with the police station naming 36 leaders and activists including BNP standing committee member Gayeshwar Roy and 100 others, our Court Correspondent reported, citing the FIR.
Sub-inspector Champak Chakrabarty and SI Rahidul Islam filed two cases with Shahbagh Police Station against 700/800 people. In the cases, it was alleged that the attack was launched under the direction of BNP central leader Mahbub Uddin Khokon.
Police brought several charges including obstructing police from discharging duties, snatching accused from police custody and vandalising vehicles against them.
Ramna police produced 36 BNP leaders and activists, arrested on Tuesday, before the court of Dhaka metropolitan magistrate Mahmudul Islam, seeking a 10-day remand for each.
Shahbagh police produced 18 other BNP leaders and activists who were arrested on Tuesday before the same court seeking a seven-day remand for each.
The court, however, allowed a two-day remand.
BNP standing committee member Goyeshwar was also produced before the court in the case of Ramna Police Station and his defence lawyer prayed bail for him.
The court rejected his plea and sent him to jail.
On Wednesday afternoon, thousands of BNP activists gathered when Khaleda appeared before the court in Zia Charitable Trust graft case.
Huge presence of law enforcement agencies was noticed at the key points including Curzon Hall, High Court and Press Club throughout the day.
Several thousand BNP activists also thronged Bakshi Bazar area when Khaleda was in the court. Several thousand others took positions along the streets on her way home.
As Khaleda came out of the court and got into her white Nissan SUV around 3:20pm, the party activists joined her motorcade en masse.
They guarded her motorcade with slogans against the misrule of the ruling Awami League and against the trail of Khaleda in the cases filed during military-backed caretaker government regime.
‘Khaleda’s car ran at a snail’s pace with the BNP activists on the front line’, said her press wing member Shamsuddin Didar.
The party activists guarded the motorcade along the streets of Dhaka University, High Court, Matshya Bhaban, Ramna, Hotel Intercontinental intersection, Bangla Motor and Karwan Bazar.
Rapid Action Battalion personnel in motorcycles guarded the rear of Khaleda’s motorcade.
Jubilant activists along the streets waved to Khaleda, who responded smiling.
She reached her Gulshan home about 5:30pm.
There were several hundred police in riot gear, backed by armed personnel carriers, water cannons and prison vans, at Mazar Gate of the High Court.
Police took position around Shiksha Bhaban intersection.
DMP Ramna division deputy commissioner Maruf Hossain Sorder said that there was no untoward incident on Wednesday and that they had all preparations so that no untoward incident could take place during the BNP chairperson’s return to Gulshan from court.
BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir at a press conference at the party Nayapaltan central office said the attackers were outsiders, not BNP activists.
‘To be very frank, we are afraid that the attackers are intruders ... the government may have a hand in it to foil our peaceful protests,’ he said.
BNP joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi told New Age that police arrested 70 BNP leaders and activists on Tuesday and 100 more on Wednesday.
Rizvi later around 11:45pm alleged that electricity at the party’s central office at Nayapaltan went off suddenly around 11:15am and resumed after half an hour.
He suspected that the electric line was cut off as he was staying at the party office that time.
A Dhaka Power Distribution Company’s Ramna zone duty officer told New Age around midnight that the transformer near the BNP office caught fire and it took only few minutes to restore power supply in the area upon complaint from the local police.
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