The police on Saturday arrested two more leaders and an activist of associate bodies of opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party for their alleged involvement in setting fire to a bus in the capital’s Naya Paltan area on November 12.
The arrested BNP men are Paltan thana Juba Dal joint-convenor Liyon Huq, 30, activist Md Azad, 28, and Paltan thana Chhatra Dal former joint general secretary Kazi Rezaul Huq Babu, 28.
The police said that they arrested the three early Saturday although the BNP in a statement on November 18 alleged that a group of people, identifying themselves as members of the law enforcement agencies, picked up Liyon on November 17 and demanded that he should be given back to his family.
With the three, at least 12 BNP leaders and activists have so far been arrested over the bus torching at Paltan, according to the police.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police additional commissioner AKM Hafiz Akhter, in a press conference, said that the Detective Branch’s Matijheel division was investigating four cases lodged with Matijheel and Paltan police stations.
He said that reviewing information from eyewitnesses, video footage and CCTV footage from the adjacent areas, the police identified the three as ‘directly involved’ in the incident of setting fire to the bus at Naya Paltan.
‘The identified three were arrested in raids in Paltan thana area early Saturday,’ he said.
He said that leaders and activists of the Chhatra Dal, Juba Dal and Swechchhasebak Dal brought out a sudden procession from in front of the BNP central office at Naya Paltan at about 12:30pm on November 12.
At one point, the procession became rowdy and the arrested three, with the help of their accomplices, set fire to the parked government bus, he claimed.
BNP organising secretary Syed Imran Saleh Prince, also in-charge of the central office, termed the police claim as ‘false and motivated’ and said that the leaders and activists of the party were being implicated in the cases for harassment.
One of the arrested, Liyon, was picked up on November 17 and now the police is showing him arrested, he said.
‘No BNP leader or activist is involved in any incident of torching any bus as the BNP is a democratic political party and does not believe in violence,’ he said.
On November 12, a total of 11 buses were set on fire at places in the capital while by-election to the Dhaka-18 constituency was in progress.
The police filed 16 cases with different police stations against leaders and activists of the BNP and its associate organisations.
The case statements alleged that the buses were set on fire to foil the by-elections and to deteriorate the law and order situation.
Police have so far arrested 50 BNP leaders and activists in the cases.
On November 18, the High Court granted anticipatory bail to 122 leaders and activists of the BNP until January 5, 2021 in cases filed against them over the arson attacks on 11 buses.
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