'As part of the blueprint for their conspiracy, the government arrested top BNP leaders like BNP Standing Committee Member Babu Goyeshwar'
BNP has claimed that the government is abusing their power to obstruct peaceful protests by the opposition party.
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir made the allegation during a press briefing held at the party’s Nayapaltan central office on Thursday.
The press conference follows in the wake of a three day demonstration by BNP, protesting the verdict against party Chairperson Khaleda Zia in the Zia Orphanage trust graft case delivered on February 8. The protest ended on Wednesday, with calls for Khaleda Zia’s release.
At the press briefing, Fakhrul alleged that the arrest of top BNP leaders before the verdict, its hasty delivery, and delays in provision of the certified copy of the verdict were all part of a government conspiracy.
The BNP secretary general further claimed that the ruling party began implementing the blueprint for the conspiracy well before the verdict.
“As part of the blueprint for their conspiracy, they (the government) arrested top BNP leaders like BNP Standing Committee Member Babu Goyeshwar, Chairperson’s advisor Amanullah Aman, Chhatradal General Secretary Akramul Hasan, Swechchhasebak Dal General Secretary Abdul Quader Bhuiyan Jewel, and many other leaders before the verdict was given,” he said.
The secretary general said over 4,000 BNP leaders and activists had been arrested over the past few weeks, among who the party had the names for 735. He alleged that the activities of the ruling party suggest that more arrests are coming.
Fakhrul also accused the government of creating other obstacles during the last BNP protest, such as when the Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) forced the party to change the venue of a human chain and a hunger strike.
“We had agreed with DMP to stage a hunger strike at the Institute of Engineers Bangladesh (IEB). But later, the DMP said the IEB had not given permission and we had to stage the program in front of the Press Club,” he said, adding that law enforcement agencies did not allow protests at all in some districts.
Moreover, the BNP secretary general described Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s statement that the next general election would be held while ensuring the participation of all parties as merely “a bluff.”
When contacted, IEB Executive Officer Sunirmal Mondal said BNP did not apply for permission to hold any program at the institution. When they learned of the planned hunger strike, IEB officials immediately informed local police.
The Shahbag police station officer-in-charge could not be reached for comment by phone.
Meanwhile, Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir also announced that BNP would collect signatures from the people to support their call for Khaleda Zia’s release on February 17, with a view to submitting memorandums to all deputy commissioners’ offices on the following day.
In addition, the opposition party will stage demonstrations in all major districts and towns with the exception of Dhaka on February 20.
Furthermore, Fakhrul said BNP would place a wreath at the Shaheed Minar without Khaleda Zia on February 21 this year, as the party chairperson will still be imprisoned.
He also alleged that the government was intentionally delaying handover of the certified copy of the verdict, in order to delay the appeal process and keep Khaleda Zia out of the election.
BNP Vice President Major (retd) Hafiz Uddin Ahmed claimed the judge was in the process of writing the certified copy under the direction of the government.
BNP leaders hold meeting to discuss strategy
BNP Standing Committee members on Thursday held a meeting with party supporters to discuss the next course of action following the arrest of Chairperson Khaleda Zia.
The hour-and-a-half-long meeting began at 4:30pm and was held at the BNP chairperson’s Gulshan office.
Party acting chairman Tarique Rahman addressed the meeting from London by phone.
Educationalists AFM Yousuf Haider, Sadrul Amin, Sahida Rafique, Tajmeri SA Islam, doctors AZM Zhaid Hossain, Abul Kayes Bhuiyan, Sirajuddin Ahmed, Abdul Mannan Miah, AKM Azizul Haque, Farhad Halim Donar, engineer ANH Akhter Hossain, Abdul Halim, agriculturalists Ibrahim Miah, Shamimur Rahman Shamim, journalists Shawkat Mahmud, Syed Abdal Ahmed, Baker Hossain and singer Monir Khan spoke at the programme, among others.
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, party standing committee members Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, Moudud Ahmed, Rafiqul Islam Miah, Mirza Abbas, Abdul Moyeen Khan, Nazrul Islam Khan and Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury were also present.