BNP on Wednesday concluded its token hunger strike in Dhaka, demanding the release of its chairperson Khaleda Zia, three hours earlier at the request of law enforcers.
Before concluding the programme, the party’s secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir demanded immediate release of their chairperson from jail.
Earlier, several hundred BNP leaders and activists began the hunger strike at 10:00am in front of National Press Club amid heightened security measures.
“Our program was scheduled to be held until 4:000pm but we are concluding it now following a request by the authorities concerned,” Fakhrul told the gathering.
He further said: “From this program, we demand that our leader [Khaleda] be released immediately.”
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Fakhrul also urged the government to stop its “repression and suppression” on BNP leaders and activists.
Later, the aggrieved BNP men broke their hunger strike by drinking water provided by Prof Emajuddin Ahmed, an ex-vice chancellor of Dhaka University.
Speaking at the program, BNP Standing Committee member Dr Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain alleged that the government was conspiring to hold the next general election keeping Khaleda out of the race. “We would like to say people won’t allow anyone to hold any election without the participation of our leader, Khaleda Zia.”
Another Standing Committee member Barrister Moudud Ahmed said the country’s ‘most popular’ leader was convicted unfairly. “We don’t accept the verdict as it was given with a political motive.”
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As part of its countrywide program, party leaders and activists, including Mirza Fakhrul, Khandaker Mosharraf, Moudud Ahmed, Mirza Abbas, Nazrul Islam Khan and Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury, observed the hunger strike program for three hours in front of the press club.
The party leaders and followers chanted various slogans demanding Khaleda’s release. The leaders and activists of the BNP-led 20-party alliance also joined the program.
Besides, pro-BNP lawyers, led by Jatiyatabadi Ainjibi Forum Senior Joint Secretary Sanaullah Mia, observed the token hunger strike on the Metropolitan Judge Court premises.
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BNP's different district and city units also observed similar program.
Earlier, BNP leaders and followers formed a human chain in front of National Press Club on Monday and staged a sit-in in front of the party’s Nayapaltan central office on Tuesday, protesting the jailing of Khaleda by a lower court in a graft case.
A special court sentenced former prime minister and BNP chief Khaleda Zia to five years’ imprisonment in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case on February 8 last.
She was then sent to old Dhaka Central Jail on Nazimuddin Road in the city.