The Bangladesh Nationalist Party on Tuesday staged countrywide sit-in vowing to free party chairperson Khaleda Zia from jail through movement.
The sit-in was the second-
day programme of three-day agitations of the opposition party for immediate unconditional release of Khaleda and cancellation of sentence against her elder son Tarique Rahman now in London.
BNP is scheduled for observing countrywide eight-hour token hunger strike today from 9:00am. In Dhaka, the hunger strike would be held for six hours from 10:00am in front of the National Press Club.
Police obstructed sit-in in Narail, Magura, Jhalakati, Lakshmipur, Kushtia, Mymensingh and Jhenaidah, BNP claimed.
BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi at a briefing at BNP central office on Tuesday said that the police arrested 150 BNP leaders and activists on Tuesday taking to 4,550 the number of BNP leaders and activists arrested since January 30.
He criticised ruling Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader for implicating BNP acting chairman Tarique Rahman in recent attack on Bangladesh High Commission in London.
In Dhaka, city BNP staged one-hour sit-in in front of its central office at Nayapaltan from 11:00am. The attendance was, however thinner than that in the human chain on Monday.
The party announced Monday afternoon that the sit-in would be held in front of the National Press Club, later in the evening informed that it would be held at Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh and finally it was held in front of BNP central office.
Party leaders at the sit-in alleged that all on a sudden the permission for the sit-in at IEB was cancelled.
BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir urged the leades and activists to take a vow to intensify the current peaceful movement for the release of Khaleda through mass uprising.
He said that the current movement was for the release of Khaleda and other leaders and activists from jail and restoration of democracy.
Fakhrul said that Tarique was leading the movement from London.
He alleged that the government had violated human rights and committed crimes against humanity by keeping Khaleda in solitary confinement in jail.
BNP leaders ruled out the ruling party claim about split of BNP, claiming that the party was now more united and strong.
Standing Committee member Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain said that the next general election would not be allowed to hold without BNP and Khaleda.
Another standing committee member Moudud Ahmed said that there was no alternative to movement to free Khaleda.
He said that they would continue legal process alongside the movement.
BNP leaders Mirza Abbas, Nazrul Islam Khan, Syed Moazzem Hossain Alal, Shahiduddin Chowdhury Annie, Labour Party faction chairman Mustafizur Rahman Iran and Liberal Democratic Party joint secretary general Shahdat Hossain Selim, among others, addressed the sit-in.
Additional police were deployed near the venue.
Asked for comment home affairs minister Asaduzzaman Khan told reporters at the ministry that the government would allow peaceful demonstrations.
Police would go for no actions unless the public movement was obstructed by any political programme, he added.
Earlier, BNP announced two-day countrywide demonstration for February 9 and February 10 in protest at the verdict that sentenced Khaleda for five years in jail in Zia Orphanage Trust graft case on February 8.
Khaleda was kept in former Dhaka Central Jail on Nazimuddin Road in old part of Dhaka city.
New Age staff correspondent in Sylhet reported that Syleht BNP and its front organisations staged a sit-in at Registrar’s Math in the city.
BNP chairperson’s adviser MA Haque, central assistant organising secretary Dildar Hossain Selim, Sylhet city mayor and the party’s central executive member Ariful Haque Chowdhury, district BNP president Abul Kaher Chowdhury Shamim and general secretary Ali Ahmed, city president Nasim Hossain and general secretary Badruzzamaan Selim, among others, addressed the programme.
New Age Rajshahi University correspondent reported that pro-BNP teachers and employees of Rajshahi University on Tuesday continued their demonstrations on the campus for the third consecutive day.
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