Tensions have gripped the country over Thursday’s verdict in the graft case against Khaleda Zia as BNP vowed to register its protests if their chairperson is ‘unfairly’ convicted in the case though the government has warned that no anarchy in this regard will be tolerated.
An uneasy calm has been created amid the wholesale arrest at different parts of the country, searching of vehicles and suspected people, deployment of BGB troops and restring entry of vehicles into the capital from other parts of the country apprehending rowdy protests and anarchy over the verdict.
SCC examinees and their guardians are also worried as they are going to sit for exam on religious study.
Meanwhile, the authorities of many schools in the city decided to keep their institutions shut on Thursday as they suffer from a sense of insecurity.
Amid BNP’s preparations to stage demonstrations in the city, police and Rab have set up check-posts at 13 entry points of the capital and were searching vehicles and suspected people to prevent ‘unwarranted’ people from entering the city.
If Khaleda Zia is convicted on Thursday, she will have to land in jail and will be disqualified for the next general election.
Amid the heightening tensions, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan on Wednesday said law enforcement agencies have taken all the necessary preparations to deal with any kind of chaos and anarchy over Thursday’s verdict.
Besides, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Mohammad Jabed Patwary on Wednesday said police with professionalism and legal manner will deal all kind of attempt of anarchy created by any individual or any vested group centering the verdict.
BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia held a press conference ahead of the verdict when she alleged that the country’s trial system has been turned into a mockery and she doubtful about getting justice on Thursday.
“As the judiciary is not independent, I’m doubtful about getting justice tomorrow (Thursday). I’m telling you [people]that Khaleda Zia was not involved in any corruption or crime, “she said referring to the upcoming court verdict in her graft case.
The movement of vehicles is likely to be restricted from early Thursday to prevent BNP leaders and activists from gathering at any point to stage demonstrations.
Meanwhile, the operators of different inter-city and long-distance bus services said they will not run their vehicles on Thursday, fearing political violence.
Many of them even said they will stop their services from Wednesday night.
According to sources at the DMP, law enforcers arrested around 350 suspected people since Tuesday midnight from Monday evening from the city’s different areas.
Police will also continue their drives at different residential hotels, mess-houses of students and bachelors to detain the suspected rowdy people.
Police and detectives are also keeping their sharp eyes on Sadarghat Launch Terminal and Kamalapur Railway Station and other bus terminals so that no troublemaker can enter the city.
Besides, important city points, bus and launch terminals and rail stations, have been brought under CCTV cameras to check untoward incidents.
As part of their steps, the Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) on Tuesday imposed a ban on holding any procession and carrying sharp weapons, explosives, flammable materials in the capital on Thursday.
Over 30,000 police alongside the adequate members of Rab, detective branch of police and other intelligence agencies will be deployed at the city’s different important points, including in and around the special court areas and all the entry points of the city.
Some 20 platoons of BGB personnel have been deployed in the capital city while three platoons each in Sirajganj, Bogra, and Narayanganj, and one each in Noakhali, Laxmipur, and Chandpur following requests from respective district administrations, said Mohsin Reza, public relation officer at the BGB Headquarters.
Meanwhile, Chittagong Metropolitan Police on Wednesday imposed a restriction on vehicular movement and carrying sharp weapons, explosives, flammable materials in the port city on Thursday.
Security measures have been beefed up in three state-owned oil installations in Chittagong.
At the party’s national executive committee meeting on Saturday last, BNP leaders vowed to ensure the peaceful presence of huge number of their followers on the streets in Dhaka and other parts of the country to register their protest if any ‘injustice’ is done to Khaleda Zia in the Zia Orphanage Trust Graft case.
However, BNP is unlikely to go for any violent programme like hartal and blockade even if Khaleda Zia is convicted apparently to avoid violence and not to lose public sympathy ahead of the next general election.
Awami League senior leaders said they will remain alert on the day so that their main rival party activists cannot create any anarchic situation over the court verdict.
On July 3, 2008, Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) filed the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case with Ramna Police Station accusing Khaleda Zia, her eldest son Tarique Rahman, and four others for misappropriating over Tk 2.10 crore that came as grants from a foreign bank for orphans.