Security has been beefed up around government and non-governmental establishments, including the Secretariat, the parliament, Bangladesh Bank, major prisons, different power plants and local government offices, across the country ahead of the verdict in the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case.
Additional police personnel were deployed on Wednesday along with Rapid Action Battalion and Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) forces to maintain law and order in the streets and different divisions and districts including Chittagong, Sylhet, Barisal, Rangpur and Rajshahi.
Chittagong Metropolitan Police have also banned carrying of all types of arms, ammunition, explosives, sharp weapons and sticks in the port city today to avert any untoward incident centring the verdict in the graft case file by the Anti-Corruption Commission nearly a decade ago.
Security was also increased at Lohagara, Banshkhali, Sitakunda and Satkania upazilas in the district.
The verdict is set to be delivered by Dhaka’s Fifth Special Judge’s Court today in the case against BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, her eldest son BNP Senior Vice-Chairman Tarique Rahman and four others.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Commissioner Asaduzzaman Mia said: “We have taken extra security measures as we have information that subversive activities may occur over the verdict.”[caption id="attachment_245477" align="aligncenter" width="800"] BGB vehicles coming out of the paramilitary force's Pilkhana headquarters in Dhaka on Wednesday, February 7, 2018 | Dhaka Tribune[/caption]
From 6pm Wednesday, with police remaining on high alert, the government rolled out 43 platoons of BGB in the capital and 14 other districts. Thirty-six other platoons were also on standby for deployment in Dhaka and nine other districts, according to a spokesperson of the paramilitary force.
Apart from strengthening security at all the entrances – including Gabtoli, Jatrabari and Uttara - of Dhaka, law enforcement agencies were seen conducting searches on vehicles and people on the city streets.
Spot visits found that police had set up 13 check posts on the seven entrances of the capital over the past two days.
All vehicles, vessels and trains were also being searched on the highways, waterways and railways, respectively, in a bid to prevent any acts of sabotage over the verdict, which could take away Khaleda’s chance to contest in the next national election if she is convicted.
Kamalapur railway police OC Yasin Faruq and Sadarghat river police OC Abdur Razzak both told the Dhaka Tribune that they were searching all passengers either leaving or coming into Dhaka at every stations and terminals.
“We are trying to ensure that no one can enter or leave Dhaka with any explosives or weapons to carry out acts of sabotage,” they said.[caption id="attachment_245482" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Police search the bag of a passenger at Kamalapur railway station in Dhaka on Wednesday, February 7, 2018 | Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune[/caption]
Meanwhile, a number of schools and colleges on Wednesday declared that they would remain closed today over security concerns anticipating violence over the graft case verdict.
A parent of a private school student said: “We are worried. We are not feeling secure enough to send our child to school.”
Inspector General of Police (IGP) Javed Patwari told reporters on Wednesday: “If any person or group tries to create chaos, they will face tough action from the police.”
Urging the people not to pay attention to rumours, he said: “If anyone sees any trouble, just call 999.”