Rally in Dhaka on Apr 10; nonstop shutdown in case of obstruction to Tuesday’s hartal
The BNP-led 18-party alliance on Sunday night called a nationwide daylong shutdown for Tuesday demanding the release of its leaders and workers arrested on March 11 and protesting the recent ‘mass killing’ in three districts.
BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir came up with the hartal call at about 10pm when a meeting of the top leaders of the alliance was in progress at BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia’s Gulshan office.
He said the opposition alliance also decided to hold a rally in front of BNP’s Nayapaltan central office on April 10.
Fakhrul said opposition leader Khaleda Zia will address the rally and announce the next course of action programmes.
He said Tuesday’s hartal is also meant for pushing for their demand for restoring the caretaker government system and protesting the government’s failures on all fronts.
After the meeting, National People’s Party (NPP) chairman Sheikh Shawkat Hossain Nilu told reporters that the 18-party alliance may announce nonstop hartal if the government obstructs Tuesday’s shutdown.
The opposition alliance, he further said, is likely to extend moral support to Hefajat-e-Islam’s April 6 Long March to Dhaka.
Five people were killed in clashes with Jamaat-Shibir and BNP men clashed with law enforcers in Chapainawabganj and Sirajganj districts on Friday. On the other hand, a BNP leader and a Jubo Dal leader were killed allegedly by ruling party activists in Khulna.
BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia convened the meeting of the opposition alliance following a meeting of her party’s senior leaders held on Thursday night.
Meanwhile, Islami Chhatra Shibir, the student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami, on Sunday announced to enforce a countrywide daylong hartal also on Tuesday if its president Delwar Hossain is not released by Monday.
Earlier, the BNP-led 18-party alliance enforced 72 hours of hartal in two spells demanding the release of its leaders and activists arrested. Its second spell of 36-hour hartal ended at 6pm on Thursday.
Earlier, the opposition alliance enforced another 36-hour shutdown from 6am on March 18 as the government did not release the opposition leaders and activists by their March-14 deadline.
On March 11, police in a raid on BNP’s Nayapaltan central office arrested 157 of its leaders and workers, including acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir and joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi.
The law enforcers launched the drive in the BNP office after 8-10 crude bombs went off near the BNP central office while Fakhrul was addressing a rally.
Three of the arrested leaders — Mirza Fakhrul, Sadek Hossain Khoka and Altaf Hossain Chowdhury — were released the following day.
The law enforcers also picked up Shafiul Alam Pradhan, president of alliance component Jatiya Ganatantrik Party, from in front of BNP chairperson’s Gulshan office on the night of March 11.
On March 20, two courts in Dhaka placed 154 leaders of the opposition alliance on an eight-day police remand in the two cases filed with the city’s Paltna Police Station.
Police on Sunday submitted a charge-sheet against 148 of them dropping the names of six BNP men in a case filed with Paltan Police Station under the Speedy Trial Act.
A Dhaka court on Sunday accepted the charges against them in the case and fixed April 17 for charge framing against the accused.