They had sent an application to the jail authorities seeking permission the previous day
The senior leaders of BNP were denied permission to meet party chief Khaleda Zia at the old Dhaka Central Jail on Eid day.
Around 200 party leaders and activists joined the senior leaders and marched to the jail gate around 12pm on Wednesday to meet Khaleda, reported UNB.
But police refused them entry, stopping them about half a kilometre away from the gate.
Although the group showed police the official permission they had received from the Ministry of Home Affairs to visit their leader, police said they had not been informed of any such meeting.
Speaking to reporters after being denied entry to the jail, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said: “It is unfortunate that we cannot meet our leader despite having been given permission.
“According to the law, prisoners are allowed to receive visitors on Eid day, but police are preventing us from meeting our beloved leader. This is painful,” he added.
The BNP leaders had attempted to meet with Khaleda on Eid-ul-Fitr in June as well, but was not allowed to meet her then either.
On Wednesday, at least 13 senior leaders of BNP, including Standing Committee members Dr Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, Mirza Abbas, Nazrul Abbas, and Abdul Awal Mintoo, went to visit the former prime minister.
Mosharraf said: “Police could have taken us to speak to the jail authorities. Blocking us is not part of their duty.”
Mentioning that he himself had been in prison several times, Mirza Abbas seconded that prisoners are allowed to meet their friends and loved ones on Eid day. “I have never seen such inhumane behaviour,” he said.
Seeing that their outcry was futile, the BNP leaders and activists left the spot after half an hour of chanting slogans demanding the immediate release of their chairperson.
Earlier in the day, the party’s senior leaders and other members went to its founder Ziaur Rahman’s grave at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar and offered special prayers.
On February 8, Khaleda Zia was sent to jail after a special court sentenced her to five years' rigorous imprisonment in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.