Hifazat supporters assemble braving blockade

Hifazat supporters assemble braving blockade

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Hifazat-e Islam leaders and supporters started gathering at Motijheel’s Shapla Chattar from Friday evening. At sunrise on Saturday for their presence started increasing as they walked to the venue from different directions to attend their planned rally.Based in Chittagong, Hifazat-e Islam, is scheduled to start their rally at 10am to demand action against ‘atheists and blasphemous bloggers’ of the Shahbagh’s Ganajagaran Manch and restoration of ‘absolute faith in Almighty Allah’ in the Constitution.
Around 30,000 Hifazat activists gathered at Sapla Chattar by 7am , arriving in processions from several parts of the capital amid a strike and a blockade called to thwart their long march from Chittagong.
They are raising slogans seeking punishment for the ‘atheist bloggers’. The activists of the organisation started erecting the stage for the rally at midnight.
Mohammad Asaduzzaman, Additional Deputy Commissioner (Motijheel zone) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police, told journalists, sufficient policemen were deployed at the rally venue. “Several close circuit cameras have also been installed there,” he added.
The government granted Hifazat permission for the rally its leaders allege that police is obstructing its activists at several places on their way to Dhaka for the rally.
Leaders of Hifazat on Friday claimed that at least 100,000 of their activists have already arrived in Dhaka.
Coordinator of the rally Mufti Mijanur Rahman Sayeed said: “They [Hifazat activists] have arrived in Dhaka from different districts on Thursday night and Friday morning.”
They are staying at madrasas, hotels, orphanages and some with their relatives in the capital for the time being, he said.
On the other hand, 25 organisations, including the Sector Commanders Forum and the Ekattorer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee, are enforcing a 24-hour nationwide shutdown from 6pm on Friday to resist the long march. The left parties of the country have lent their support to the strike.
The Ganajagaran Manch has also enforced a nationwide transport blockade to stop the Hifazat long march.
In Dhaka, transport owners have suspended their town service and long distance bus operations since Friday evening responding to the shutdown call.
River launch and ferry operations on the Mawa-Kewrakandi route have also remained suspended for the same reason.
Bangladesh Railway on Friday night cancelled 10 Dhaka-bound scheduled trains from East and West zones.

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