Police virtually kept BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia isolated yesterday after her residence and office in Gulshan remained restricted for party leaders and activists amid the deployment of additional security forces.
Moreover, the government seemed to have opted for hard line against the opposition parties through filing of new cases and arresting many of them.
Except for a group of people from the Christian community, who met Khaleda at her office around 8:30pm, the police did not allow anybody entering the party office. Rather they were seen picking up leaders and activists from the surrounding areas.
The law enforcers already detained several opposition leaders and activists including former BNP lawmaker Shakhwat Hossain Bakul, and drove away many others as they had tried to meet the BNP chief.
Meanwhile, acting secretary general Mirza Fahkrul Islam Alamgir yesterday condemned and protested the arrest of the party men and the role of police. He also demanded release of all the detainees.
According to sources, the law enforcers detained Bakul and Shammi Akhter; Standing Committee member RA Gani; Titumir College unit Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal President Obhi; Khaleda’s Adviser Abdul Awal Mintu’s son Tabid Awal; and several others from in front of the residence and office of the BNP chief.
Gani, however, was freed after a brief questioning at Gulshan police station; Bakul was shifted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital as he felt ill while Shammi was at the Cantonment police station.
According to witnesses, Bakul was arrested by the DB personnel around 6:30pm while he was briefing the media in front of Khaleda’s residence. Gani and five pedestrians were picked up around 8:30pm and Shammi in the evening in front of Khaleda’s office. Obhi was picked up around 2:30pm from near the party chief’s residence and Tabid Awal near her office around 9:45pm.
The police also barred Khaleda’s three advisers – former minister Osman Faruq; former IGP Abdul Quaiyum; and Khaleda’s adviser Khandaker Mahbub Hossain – from meeting Khaleda at her office and asked them to leave the area immediately. Journalist Shafique Rehman was stopped while entering the office in the evening.
To avert arrest, opposition chief whip Zainal Abdin Farroque and BNP Executive Committee member Zeba Rahman sped away their cars from in front of Khaleda’s residence when the police took attempt of arresting them in the afternoon.
Around 10:30pm, a team of pro-BNP journalists met Khaleda at her office. As they came out around 11:45pm, the BNP chief also left for her residence.
But Joint Commissioner Monirul Islam, also spokesperson of the DMP, said they had arrested none other than Bakul.
Asked, he declined to disclose the charges under which they had arrested Bakul, who was taken to the DB headquarters following detention.
Talking to the Dhaka Tribune, Osman Faruq said: “Around 8pm, I was stopped and the law enforcers asked me to leave the area quickly, unless they would have arrested me.”
Hours after the announcement of “March for Democracy” towards Dhaka on December 29, a large number of additional security forces was deployed surrounding Khaleda’s residence and office since 2am yesterday.
Moreover, traffic movement was also restricted in the area since the afternoon by installing several barricades on different streets.
“Everything has been done considering the overall situation,” said Khandaker Ltuful Kabir, deputy commissioner at Gulshan division, told the Dhaka Tribune.
Kabir said the measures had been taken to ensure foolproof security of the leader of the opposition.
Asked whether the police had any intelligence on any attack or security threat for Khaleda, the DC would not answer the question.
However, Nur-e-Alam, assistant police commissioner of Gulshan zone, denied obstruction to any of the visitors to Khaleda’s residence saying that the BNP advisers needed to take permission from Khaleda’s residence for the entrance.
Source: Dhaka Tribune