Bangladesh Nationalist Party as part of its countrywide programme on Tuesday formed human chains amid arrests and police interruption at some places with a call for forging a massive movement of all patriotic forces for democracy and to expedite fall of the incumbent government.
BNP announced the hour-long human chain for ‘unconditional’ release of its chairperson Khaleda Zia, who was sentenced to five years by a Dhaka court in Zia Orphanage Trust case on February 8.
Leaders and activists of BNP and its front and associate organisations gathered in front of the National Press Club and formed a human chain at 11:00am that continued upto 12 noon.
Plainclothes arrested Jatiyatabadi Swechchhasebak Dal president Shafiul Bari Babu from the programme.
Swechchhasebak Dal announced protest processions at metropolitan cities, including Dhaka, and in district headquarters for today in protest against the arrest of Shafiul Bari, said a press release.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police’s deputy commissioner (media) Masudur Rahman said they had detained Shafiul Bari and took him to metropolitan police’s detective branch office in the city.
BNP claimed that police foiled its human chain in Thakurgaon and Jessore, while ‘armed goons’ of ‘Chhatra League’ in police cooperation foiled the human chain of teachers, officers and employees of Islami University in Kushtia.
Leaders and activists of BNP formed human chains in places, including Chittagong, Khulna, Rajshahi, Barisal and Magura.
The New Age correspondent in Barisal reported that BNP held a human chain amid police presence in front of Awshani Kumar Hall in the city.
According to the Jessore correspondent of New Age, police foiled a human chain on RN Road in the town.
The sit-in programme for Thursday, as part of the party’s two-day programme, would be held in front of the National Press Club instead of BNP’s central office at 11:00am, the party’s senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi told a news briefing at BNP central office on Tuesday.
Presiding over Tuesday’s human chain in Dhaka, BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir complained that Khaleda Zia was being deprived of ‘constitutional legal rights’ of securing bail.
He said the government was delaying her release by playing ‘tricks.’
He categorically said BNP and all democratic political parties would take part in the election providing that Khaleda was released from jail, parliament was dissolved before the poll, all cases against the party’s leaders and activists would be lifted, and a democratic environment would have to be ensured.
Standing committee member Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain said the government wanted to longer Khaleda’s stay in jail to hold another farcical election like that of January 2014.
Another standing committee member Moudud Ahmed said it was not far that Khaleda Zia would get release from jail through legal procedures.
Fakhrul condemned and protested at the arrest of Shafiul Bari Babu and demanded his ‘unconditional’ release.
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