Tension mounts as 'police cordon off' BNP central office

Tension mounts as ‘police cordon off’ BNP central office


Amid the deepening political crisis over the nature of polls-time government, police have cordoned off the main opposition BNP’s

Noyapaltan central office, escalating tension.

BNP leaders and activists alleged that the party central office was virtually cordoned off Thursday morning as nobody was allowed to get
into and come out of it.
However, police denied the allegation of laying siege to the BNP office and said they only beefed up security to avert any unpleasant
The Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Motijheel division Ashrafuzzaan said police did not prevent any BNP leaders and activists from
entering into and coming out of the party central office.

He said the presence of police is more visible as everything is closed around due to Eid vacation, he said.
“Anyone can enter the BNP office, but after necessary checking for security reasons,” the DC added.

The country is passing through a political uncertainty due to the long-drawn stalemate over the format of the election-time government,
with the BNP-led opposition alliance sticking to its guns not to join the upcoming election unless it is held under a non-party caretaker
government while the ruling alliance refusing to accept the demand.

Meanwhile, both the ruling and opposition alliances called grand rallies in Dhaka city on October 25 in their bid to stage big
showdowns as the current regime heading towards completing its tenure.

On Tuesday, plainclothes police raided the Gupibagh residence of BNP’s Dhaka City unit convener Sadeque Hossain Khoka in an apparent bid to
arrest him.

The raid was conducted following Khoka’a Monday’s call to BNP leaders and activists to get ready with machete-axe to resist attacks on BNP’s
scheduled October 25 mass rally in city.

Addressing the meeting organised by city BNP at Bhasani Auditorium, Khoka said, “The preparation will have to be taken on two issues —
making the rally a success and resisting any possible attacks. We won’t attack first. If Awami League comes with something to kill
people, they’ll be resisted at any cost.”

Sources said a special DB team along with members from Motijheel thana police went to Khoka’s house after 12:30 pm and was looking for Khoka,
but he was not there in the house at that time.

However, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday described the opposition’s threat over the October 25 rallies as ‘rubbish’ while
opposition leader Khaleda Zia said they do not want violence in the country, but fair polls. – UNB
bdnews24.com adds – BNP Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi said the government had increased police presence around the building during the Eid vacation “to create panic” in public mind.

As per the constitution the 10th parliamentary polls are to be held sometime between Oct 25 and Jan 24.

During this period, the present government will remain in power and Parliament will be kept in operation. The BNP demands the formation of a non-partisan government to oversee the polls, fearing a party-led government will not allow a free and fair election.

BNP Dhaka Metropolitan Chief and former mayor Sadeque Hossain Khoka on Monday announced that the party would hold a rally on Oct 25 in the capital and asked party activists to be ready with machetes and axes if the government tried to foil the rally.

Since then police raided his home several times.

A prison van was parked near Pubali Bank, some 10 yards away of the office. Police personnel were seen standing across the road.

Police sources said security had been tightened to ensure public safety.

Ruhul Kabir told journalists, “I have learnt that plain clothes policemen and additional forces have been deployed in front of the party office. Eid vacation is on. The government wants to create panic in public mind.”
The BNP leader said the government would fail to quell the “mass agitation” for a non-party government. “We want to tell the government that it will not succeed.”
BNP leaders said there were only two staff members in the party office. They stayed inside, having locked the entrance.
Reporters gathered in front of the BNP office since morning but no leader was seen arriving there.
Ruhul Kabir said, “Police deployment in front of the office of a major political party in the name of strengthening security is not acceptable.
“The government wants to create panic in an attempt to foil the Oct 25 rally called by Khaleda Zia. They are also raiding the houses of our leaders.”
Ruhul Kabir said in a press briefing in Kurigram that the BNP had sought permission to hold the rally on Oct 25 because it was committed to constitutional and peaceful politics.
The rally would be held at any cost even if the government were to refuse permission, he said.
“Besieging the BNP office and arresting its leaders and activists betrays the government’s autocratic attitude. It should shun such undemocratic ways; otherwise, it will not be good for it,” he said.
The BNP leader said party activists would not back off if the government prevented them from holding the rally. “They will also be ready in the field to keep themselves safe.”


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