The Bangladesh Nationalist Party on Monday formed human chains across the country for unconditional release of party chairperson Khaleda Zia vowing that no general election would be allowed to be held in the country without her.
The main opposition BNP formed the human chains as part of its three-day second-phase programme for the release of Khaleda, jailed for five years on February 8.
The party would stage sit-in across the country today. In Dhaka, it would hold one-hour sit-in on the Institute of Engineers, Bangladesh premises at 11:00am. It would observe eight-hour hunger strike from 9:00am on Wednesday.
BNP claimed that more than 4,400 leaders and activists had so far been arrested across the country since January 30, including 85 on Monday.
BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi at a briefing at the party central office on Monday mentioned the figures, saying that BNP vice-chairman Shamsuzzaman Dudu was arrested in Matsabhaban area in Dhaka while he was returning after participating in the human chain at the National Press Club.
Replying to a question, Rizvi said that the government was conspiring to delay Khaleda’s release showing her arrested in various ‘politically motivated’ cases.
Police obstructed and attacked human chains at places, including Bhola, Pirojpur, Moulvibazar, Lakshmipur, Thakurgaon, Dinajpur and Netrokona. Police arrested several leaders and activists at human chains.
In Dhaka city, several thousand leaders and activists of BNP and its front and associated organisations and BNP-led alliance joined the human chain.
The participants chanted various slogans including immediate release of Khaleda threatened that fire would ignite if anything happened to her.
Addressing the human chain, BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said that their peaceful movement would continue until the release of Khaleda and restoration of democracy.
Referring to Khaleda’s instruction, he urged party leaders and activists to have patience and carry out the movement peacefully.
He said that BNP would go to next election along with Khaleda and cautioned that no election would be held in the country without her.
He reiterated demand for election-supportive government and a neutral Election Commission for a fair and neutral election.
He asked the government to stop arrest BNP leaders and activists.
BNP standing committee member Mirza Abbas said that election would be held with participation of Khaleda.
BNP staged human chains in other parts of the country including in Chittagong, Rajshahi, Khulna, Sylhet and Bogra.
A special judge’s court set up at Bakshibazar in Dhaka on February 8 jailed Khaleda for five years and her elder son, Tarique Rahman, acting BNP chairman, and four others for 10 years in Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case.
Khaleda is kept at former Dhaka Central Jail on Nazimuddin road in old part of the Dhaka city.
BNP leaders including Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, Nazrul Islam Khan, Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury, Kamal Ibne Yusuf, Altaf Hossain, Mohammad Shahjahan, Barkatullah Bulu and alliance leaders including Syed Muhammad Ibrahim of Kalyan Party, Mostafa Zamal Haider of Jatiya Party (Kazi Zafar), Fariduzzaman Farhad of National People’s Party and Saifuddin Moni of Democratic League, among others, joined the human chain.
Additional police was deployed in front of National Press Club while water canon was placed in the area.
Replying to a question, Rizvi at the briefing said that the government was conspiring to delay Khaleda’s release showing her arrested in various ‘politically motivated’ cases.
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