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Dhaka Tribune

BNP grassroots resolute but fear repression

Update : 25 Dec 2013, 07:57 PM

BNP grassroots are bracing to march towards Dhaka on December 29 but they are sceptical about the success of the programme in apprehension of repressive measures of the government.

A similar programme was thwarted by the government last year.

Most of the leaders of the BNP talking to the Dhaka Tribune yesterday said the ruling party and their “cohorts” may slap undeclared transport strike mainly to stop the stream of people heading for Dhaka.

Imprisonment and pending warrants against a large number of the opposition leaders are the other barriers to the party leaders reaching the capital defying all the hurdles.

They think thousands of people will join the rally in case Khaleda Zia is allowed to take to the streets.

This correspondent talked to leaders of at least 15 districts. They said the Dhaka March programme will rejuvenate the grassroots once again to mount pressure on the election commission to suspend the January 5 polls.

“I am desperate to go to Dhaka but I do not know if I really could join the programme avoiding arrest and other obstructions,” Matiur Rahman, a leader of Barthi union of Gauranadi of Barisal, said.

BNP Chairperson and leader of the opposition Khaleda Zia on Tuesday called upon people from all walks of life to march towards Dhaka with national flags in hands on December 29 to say “no” to the “farcical polls”.

Mahbubul Alam Faruk, president of Barguna district unit of the BNP, said a huge number of people from Barguna are keen on joining the march.” He, however, feared a government-sponsored transport strike to foil the programme.

Referring to the government steps to block the last year’s March 12 Dhaka siege programme, the grassroots leaders said they might face similar obstruction this time too.

Many transport owners and workers allegedly loyal to the government refrained from operating inter-district buses and launches ahead of the March 12 programme. The BNP said 10 thousand people joined the agitation despite the hurdles and the police hassles.

The BNP says most of the presidents and secretaries of the BNP and its front organisations are either behind bars or on the run to evade arrest.

The leaders of Dhaka city units have rarely been seen since the blockade programme started on November 26.

Belal Hossain, president of Panchhari Upazila BNP of Khagrachhari district, also expressed his firm determination to join the programme.

“We must go as the Netri (leader) has instructed us to come to Dhaka. The arrest can in no way stop us,” he said.

Mahbubur Rahman Hares, a BNP leader of Serpur Upazila of Bogra, said: “How many people will they kill? How many people will they arrest? How many people will they prevent from going to Dhaka? We will go to Dhaka at any cost.”

Ali Ahmed, former organising secretary of Sylhet district unit BNP, said they would march towards Dhaka at any means and more than 5000 leaders and activists of his district would join the march.

Nuruzzaman Nuru, former president of Netrokona district BNP, said the more the government will take hard line the more the movement will get momentum.

“I think people will mainly converge to the venue from the capital and its adjacent areas. As soon as Madam (Khaleda) takes to the street leaders who went into hiding will come pouring on to the streets,” he hoped.

Meanwhile, a three-member delegation led by Opposition Chief Whip Zainul Abdin Farroque, went to Dhaka Metropolitan Police headquarters seeking permission to use mike at their December 29 Dhaka rally at Nayapaltan headquarters.

“Our programme on December 29 will be held in front of our headquarters. We sought all-out support from the police commissioner to make the programme a success,” Farroque, told journalists.

The opposition BNP-led 18-party alliance declared a countrywide demonstration for Thursday protesting the causalities and arrest of opposition party members during their blockades in five phases.

BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir made the announcement through a press release issued yesterday afternoon.  

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