The opposition Bangladesh National Party held its third divisional rally in Rajshahi on Tuesday amid obstacles vowing to oust the government through nonstop movement ‘to restore democracy’.
Addressing the rally, BNP standing committee member Iqbal Hasan Mahmud Tuku said that there was no alternative to an irresistible and nonstop movement to restore democracy.
He alleged that the police became a team of the government.
It was the one of the six rallies announced by BNP’s defeated mayoral candidates protesting against rigging in the recent mayoral polls and government initiatives to cancel party founder Ziaur Rahman’s gallantry award Bir Uttam, and demanding neutral elections across the country and immediate release of the party chairperson Khaleda Zia.
The rally was arranged at a convention centre in the city as the police did not allow them to hold it in any open space.
Ahead of the rally, bus communications on all routes from Rajshahi were suspended.
Rajshahi Bus Owners’ Association general secretary Matiul Haque Tito told New Age that they suspended the bus communication considering the safety of the workers as they feared violence centring the rally.
Rajshahi District Motor Workers Union general secretary Mahatab Hossain said that one of their workers was beaten in Bogra. ‘They have suspended the bus services following their earlier decision demanding the arrest of the perpetrators,’ he added.
BNP leaders and activists faced obstacles to join the rally. The police stopped BNP leaders and activists and interrogated them at every checkpoint.
Rajshahi Metropolitan Police additional deputy commissioner Golam Ruhul Quddus said that they order the check to avoid any violence ahead of the rally.
Addressing the rally, Dhaka south city BNP mayoral candidate Ishraque Hossain said, ‘You have seen what has happened in the country in the name of national elections. In the 50 years of independence, a joyous and emotional atmosphere was to be created. But the unelected government has kidnapped, murdered, raped, looted people, deprived them of their basic rights to speak and vote.’
The government has enacted draconian the Digital Security Act and the government is playing about Ziaur Rahman’s gallantry award, he said. ‘Democracy must be restored by overthrowing this illegitimate government,’ he added.
Dhaka North city mayoral candidate Tabith Awal said that the police barred him from entering Rajshahi city at Puthia checkpoint..
Chapainawabganj-3 lawmaker Harun Aur Rashid said, ‘The Awami League candidate got a few thousand votes while the BNP candidate got only 98 votes. Is it possible at all? People know everything. So, no more election can be held under this government.’
Rajshahi Metropolitan BNP president Mohammad Mosaddek Hossain Bulbul, general secretary Shafiqul Haque Milon, BNP chairperson’s adviser Habibur Rahman Habib, party joint secretary Harun Aur Rashid and Mojibur Rahman Sarwar, divisional organising secretary Ruhul Quddus Talukder Dulu, defeated BNP mayoral candidates Nazrul Islam Monju of Khulna and Shahadat Hossain of Chattogram and district BNP convener Abu Saeed Chand, among others, addressed the rally
Meanwhile, Rajshahi Metropolitan unit Bangladesh Chhatra League leaders and activists took position and staged a sit-in at Rajshahi College to resist the BNP men if any violence erupted in the city.
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