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Dhaka Tribune

BNP to hold sit-ins at Dhaka entry points Saturday

  • BNP leaders termed the rally as a human sea 
  • Tarique Rahman addresses rally virtually
  • Mobile network, internet connection disrupted at rally venue
Update : 28 Jul 2023, 11:59 PM

The opposition BNP and its alliances have announced sit-ins at important entry points into Dhaka on Saturday

BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir announced the program on Friday at what was described as a mega rally. 

He said that the program will be held from 11am to 4pm, adding that the BNP will announce continuous movements from now on.

Mirza Fakhrul said: “I hope the administration will perform its constitutional duty by allowing this program to be carried out peacefully. We also hope that all like-minded parties will hold this program together on the holiday tomorrow.'

Speaking as the chief guest, the BNP leader said: "This rally is not an ordinary gathering. This gathering has become a milestone in the transformation of Bangladesh.”

He said: “There is only one goal before us; we want our democratic Bangladesh back. We want Bangladesh back, the dream seen by Ziaur Rahman, seen by the country's leader Khaleda Zia.”

Thousands of leaders and activists of the BNP gathered in front of the party's Naya Paltan central office for the grand rally to press home its demand for a non-partisan government during the general election.

The rally, presided over by BNP Standing Committee Member Mirza Abbas, started just after 2pm on Friday.

Publication secretary Shahid Uddin Chowdhury Annie said: “This grand rally has turned into a human sea. If she does not resign immediately, Sheikh Hasina will be ousted.”

Afroza Abbas, president of Nationalist Women's Party, said: "This illegal government has established a dictatorship, has established the rule of a queen by establishing a tyranny."

Meanwhile, Mirza Fakhrul said: “After talking to all the political parties, we have agreed that there will be no elections under this government, because the people will not be able to cast their votes. The government should resign, Parliament should be dissolved, elections should be held under a neutral non-partisan government. A new election commission must be formed.”

Calling for the formation of a national government with those who participate in the movement with the BNP, he said: “We will reform the state, repair it, and redecorate the state.”

"The biggest damage they have done is to completely destroy the electoral system of my country," he said, adding that people no longer go to vote.

He claimed that 100 billion dollars have been smuggled from Bangladesh in the last 14 years.

“Our reserves increase with the money sent by overseas workers. And they steal that money, corrupt it and send it abroad. The government has made a rule, if you bring it back to the country, you will get a two and a half percent incentive. In other words, they will steal, send what is stolen abroad, and take two and a half percent in incentives.”

He added that 600 BNP leaders and activists have gone missing in the last 14 years. Cases have been filed against four million activists.

Mirza Fakhrul asked the government to stop harassing BNP activists by filing cases.

Meanwhile, the BNP leaders claimed that the judicial system has started working under the instructions of the party government. BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia has been unjustly punished. The international community is also saying that it wants to see a free and fair election in Bangladesh.

Before the announcement of the grand program, BNP Acting Chairman Tarique Rahman addressed the rally virtually. 

Claiming that BNP leaders and activists were obstructed on their way to the rally, BNP Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi said: “Our leaders and activists were dropped from the bus on the way. Their mobiles were checked at the check post. People have come here after overcoming so many obstacles, so many disappearances, and so much persecution.”

Mobile network, internet disruptions at Naya Paltan

Many people at the venue of the  rally said although the rally started at 2pm, internet services were interrupted from 12 noon. The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has not made any official announcements in this regard. 

The BTRC had earlier said voice and data services become slow in places where there are massive crowds.

Journalists on the spot to cover the event faced similar internet problems. They said that neither 3G nor 4G mobile services were working properly, and it was not possible to exchange information or images due to the disruption in internet services.

Mobile phone users claimed that they faced disruptions in the network and internet services on their cell phones near the venue of the BNP's rally at Naya Paltan. 

BNP standing committee member Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury said: “We don't have internet in every meeting. Those who are working behind it are agents of vote thieves. You are working to implement a vote stealing scheme to disrupt the next election.”

Factional clash reported at rally venue  

A clash between two groups of the BNP took place in front of Islami Bank Central Hospital in Naya Paltan in the afternoon during the BNP's meeting. 

The groups carried the banner of Jamalpur Madarganj upazila unit BNP.

A member of Jamalpur Madarganj upazila unit BNP said four to five people were injured in the incident. The injured received first aid at Islami Bank Hospital.

He said that there was discontent between the groups based on a previous incident.

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