Police have harassed BNP activists who gathered to greet party chairperson Khaleda Zia on her way to Sylhet to visit shrines, senior BNP leader Ruhul Kabir Rizvi alleged.
Sakhawat Hossain Khan, vice-president of Narayanganj Metropolitan unit, and Deputy Joint Secretary for International Affairs Nazrul Islam Azad and eight others were arrested in Narayanganj on Monday.
In Narsingdi, police detained local BNP unit’s International Affairs Secretary Sanaullah Mia and 12 others, a claim that police have denied.
The party also claims that police are driving away BNP leaders and activists from Narayanganj’s Sonargaon, Narsingdi’s Belanagar and Kamartek.
“We received reports that police are driving away our men from the route via which Khaleda Zia’s motorcade is heading toward Sylhet,” BNP Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi told bdnews24.com.
The leaders and activists are being confined to narrow lanes so that they cannot come out on the highways to greet the former prime minister, Rizvi alleged.
Khaleda was on her way to Sylhet to pray at the shrines of Hazrat Shahjalal and Hazrat Shah Paran ahead of the verdict in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.
About 35 cars including those of journalists are accompanying the BNP chief who left her Gulshan home at 9:15am Monday.
Eyewitnesses said BNP leader Sakhawat attempted to gather party activists on the Dhaka-Chittagong Highway at Narayanganj’s Siddhirganj to greet Khaleda.
Nazrul had similarly led a group of party activists to the Pachrukhi area of the Dhaka-Sylhet Highway. Locals say Nazrul and others were arrested in the Araihazar area soon after the group clashed with police.
Narayanganj Superintendent of Police Moinul Haque said police had detained 10 people but did not disclose their names.
Local correspondents found BNP leaders and activists standing at several points across the route to Narsingdi. They chanted slogans to draw Khaleda’s attention but could not get close to her motorcade in the face of police action.
On the other hand, a group of youths chanted slogans for ‘boat’, the election symbol of the ruling Awami League, near Bhalanagar District Jail in Narsingdi when Khaleda’s motorcade passed by around 11:30am.
They took out a procession there and displayed shoes in a rude gesture to the passing motorcade of the former prime minister.
They swooped on one car as the motorcade tried to leave the area in a hurry, the BNP said.
Police drove away hundreds of BNP supporters from Narsingdi’s Kamartek. The BNP chief stopped there for some time and talked with some female activists.
Thousands of supporters crowded Monohordi, Baroicha and Bhairab with banners and festoons to greet the BNP chief.
Police detained 13 people including Sanaullah Mia from Narsingdi city, Madhabdi and Shibpur between 11:30am and 12pm, said Narsingdi BNP President Khairul Kabir Khokon.
Narsingdi BNP President Golam Kabir Kamal and Vice-President Sultan Uddin Molla were among those detained, according to Khokon. District police rejected the claim.