18-Party to strike nation down for 36 hours

The BNP along with its allies has called a 36-hour shutdown beginning from Tuesday minutes after a Dhaka court refused bail to seven of its top leaders.

The 18-Party alliance’s general strike aims to put pressure on the government to free the senior leaders and withdraw cases against them.

The party’s Standing Committee Member Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain made the announcement on Sunday at a press briefing at the party Chairperson Khaleda Zia’s Gulshan office after a Secretary General-level meeting of the opposition coalition.

Earlier in the day, Moudud Ahmed, Barkatullah Bulu and Shahid Uddin Chowdhury Annie won bail from a Dhaka court in several cases.

But Acting Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir and six other leaders were denied bail.

At the briefing, Khandaker Mosharraf said, “Our top leaders are still in jail along with many activists. Our demand for holding the next elections under a non-partisan government has not yet been met. That’s why we are declaring a general strike from 6am on Apr 23 to 6pm on Apr 24.”

He also announced protest programmes in all district Sadar Upazilas including Dhaka on Apr 27.

The other demands of the opposition coalition include resignation of the present Awami League-led Grand Alliance government.

Police had raided the BNP’s Naya Paltan headquarters and arrested 151 leaders and activists of the main opposition party on Mar 11. Later, a Dhaka court had also sent several senior BNP leaders including Acting Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, Standing Committee member Moudud Ahmed to jail.

The 18-Party alliance had also observed three 36-hour nationwide strikes over the past one month demanding the release of their senior leaders.

Mosharraf on Sunday said, “The government is not listening to the demands of the 18-Party alliance even after various protest programmes. We will force the government to meet our demands through tougher movement.

“We have heard that three of our leaders have secured bail. But we don’t think they are free. We’ve seen in the past that the bailed leaders were shown arrested in other cases. Also, 200 leaders and activists including the party’s Acting Secretary General are still in jail,” he added.

Source: Bd news24

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