The BNP-led 18 party alliance has called another 36-hour nationwide hartal (shutdown) from 6am Tuesday to 6pm Wednesday in response to the denial of bail for seven senior BNP leaders including its acting secretary general, today.
The alliance will hold demonstrations in every district headquarters including Dhaka metropolis on April 27.
The programme was announced after a meeting of secretary generals of the BNP-led 18-party alliance held at the BNP chairperson’s Gulshan office in the capital. “We have called hartals demanding release of our detained BNP leaders, restoration of the caretaker government system, and to overthrow the government,” Khandakar Mosharraf Hossain, a standing committee member of the BNP told reporters.
He also demanded the government withdraw “false” cases filed against the opposition.
At a standing committee meeting held on April 11 the BNP decided to call hartals on April 17 and 18 but deferred because the dates coincided with the Hindu religious festival, Punya Snan.
The opposition alliance has previous called hartals on March 09, 10, 12, 18, 19, 27 and 28 with the same demands.
Metropolitan Session’s Judge Mohammad Zahurul Haque denied bail to seven top leaders but granted it to three others, including Barrister Moudud Ahmed, Barkatullah Bulu and Shahid Uddin Chowdhury Anny.
BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir was among those denied bail.
Barrister Rafiqul Islam Miah and Advocate Sanaullah Miah appeared for the accused in court. They claim the ruling Awami League is trying to destroy BNP with false accusations. They denied the opposition leaders’ involvement in the crimes they are alleged to have committed.
State Prosecutor Md Abdullah Abu refuted the defense’s argument.
Earlier on April 9, Barrister Rafiq and Advocate Sanaullah filed separate bail petitions on behalf of BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, standing committee members Barrister Moudud Ahmed, Mirza Abbas and Goyeshwar Chandra Roy, vice-chairman Abdullah Al Noman, joint-secretaries general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi and Amanullah Aman, lawmakers Barkatullah Bulu and Shahid Uddin Chowdhury Anny, and Juba Dal president Moazzem Hossain Alal, in seven cases.
They are named in cases filed with Naya Paltan and Shajahanpur police stations, as well as four more filed by Paltan and Ramna police stations, under the Explosive Substance Act.
Three metropolitan courts sent the ten leaders to jail on April 7, after a four-week anticipatory bail period granted by the High Court expired.
When asked about the presidential election, Mosharraf said: “We are yet to discuss the issue in our party forum. We will give our reaction after the discussion.”
Commenting on the release of the three leaders, the BNP leader said: “Thousands of opposition leaders and activists are in jail, out of them only three got bail.”
BNP Standing Committee Member RA Ghani, Vice-chairman Sadeque Hossain Khoka and a number of 18 party leaders were present at the meeting.