The two top leaders were shown arrested in a case filed for allegedly assaulting the police on Chittagong Court Building premises on Sunday
The BNP leaders and activists in Chittagong are beleaguered by arrest spree and fresh cases, particularly the probable candidates for the upcoming 11th general election.
The party leaders at grassroots levels are now staying away from their homes in growing fear of arrest as the law enforcers are frequently conducting raids. They are even keeping themselves away from attending the party programmes.
Most of them have already gone into hiding to avoid arrest and falling victims to false cases.
The arrest fear has intensified after the central Organizing Secretary Mahbubur Rahman Shamim and metropolitan unit Secretary Abul Hashem Bakkar were arrested on Monday.
The two top leaders were shown arrested in a case filed for allegedly assaulting the police on Chittagong Court Building premises on Sunday.
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That day police filed a case accusing 150 leaders and activists of BNP including city unit President Dr Shahadat Hossain on charge of assaulting police on the court premises when BNP leader Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury surrendered before the court.
Police arrested 12 BNP men including three joint-conveners of the party's Mirsarai upazila chapter on Tuesday and 16 more on Wednesday.
Probable BNP candidates facing cases
BNP leaders and activists said the government has been filing false and fabricated cases in a bid to keep them out of the electoral fray.
Many probable candidates are awaiting verdict as trial proceedings of many cases have almost been completed.
According to law, anyone who is sentenced to at least two years' imprisonment, s/he cannot take part in any election for the next five years.
On October 21, a Chittagong court refused bail plea of BNP standing committee member Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury, and sent him to jail.
Former foreign minister M Morshed Khan and probable candidate from Chittagong- 8 constituency have been accused in a money-laundering case.
BNP Vice Chairman Abdullah Al Noman has also been accused in a number of cases.
BNP's Chittagong city unit President Dr Shahadat, Vice President Abu Sufian and Secretary Abul Hashem Bakkar, each of them are accused in more than a dozen cases.
Of them, BNP joint secretary general Aslam Chowdhury, now behind bars, facing many cases. He was a candidate from Chittagong-4 constituency in 9th parliamentary election.
BNP's south district Vice President Enamul Haque is also accused in a number of cases. He is a nomination-aspirant from Chittagiong-12 constituency.
While in conversation with Dhaka Tribune BNP's Chittagong city unit President Dr Shahadat Hossain said, “The election schedule is about to be announced, but the government has not stopped arresting the BNP men and filing false cases against them. It's an old and evil design of the government to keep away BNP from the approaching general elections.”
"It is regrettable that we are not allowed to hold any rally. All the cases filed against BNP leaders are politically motivated. The wholesale arrest has turned out to be cause of grave concern for us," said Dr Shahadat.
BNP's Chittagong city Vice President Abu Sufian said, “The present terrifying situation is not congenial for carrying out electoral campaign.”
"It is very unfortunate that the incumbent government is filing wholesale cases against our party leaders and activists. Even dead persons are not being spared from the cases. Our party fellows cannot stay at their houses and attend party meetings due to recurring arrest spree," said the BNP leader.
The government will ensure an environment where they can carry out electioneering without fear, he hoped.
Although the BNP is yet to make a formal announcement, party insiders said they will launch campaign and participate in the election whatever the situation may be.
The BNP and most other political parties boycotted the last parliamentary polls demanding election under a non-partisan interim government.