72-hr blockade again

REF: The BNP and its allies have called yet another 72-hour blockade of roads, railways and waterways across Bangladesh starting at 6am Saturday.

 

Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi said at a press briefing at 10pm on Friday that the blockade would last until 6am on Tuesday.

The transport clamp is being enforced again to criminal cases against senior BNP leaders and denial of permission to hold a protest rally on Saturday.

It comes nearly six hours after several senior leaders of the main opposition were sued over a deadly arson attack in Dhaka on Thursday amid the Opposition’s 71-hour nationwide blockade which had begun on Tuesday.

Rizvi complained they had planned a peaceful nationwide protest programme for Saturday. But the government and police did not give permission and sued senior leaders including acting Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir.

Suspected Opposition activists had torched a bus on the third day of this past blockade leaving 18 passengers injured. Two of them later died in hospital.

Seventeen people including BNP Vice-Chairman Sadeque Hossain Khoka, Standing Committee members Mirza Abbas and Gayeshwar Chandra Roy, Joint Secretaries General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, Aman Ullan Aman and Barkatullah Bulu, and Dhaka metropolitan unit’s Joint Convenor Salauddin Ahmed and Member Secretary Abdus Salam were made accused in the case filed at Shahbagh Police Station.

At least 20 people were killed across the country in the past four days during the violent blockade marked by crude bomb blasts, vandalism and acts of arson and sabotage on the railways.

The Opposition had called the first blockade to protest the schedule for the 10th parliamentary election.

The next parliamentary polls will take place on Jan 5, according to the roadmap announced by the Election Commission.

Rizvi also took a dig at Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad. “He [Ahmad] is working for a ‘certain party’.

Election under the ‘puppet Election Commission’ will never be free and fair, he further claimed.

The BNP Joint Secretary General also called the party supporters to enforce the blockade in earnest.

The blockade will end on Tuesday, which is the last day to submit nomination papers for the election.

According to the polls roadmap, the nomination papers will be screened on Dec 5-6 while candidature can be withdrawn by Dec 13.

The BNP-led 18-Party alliance has rejected the schedule. The opposition coalition has long been in the streets demanding a non-party polls-time government.

It has also threatened to thwart election under the incumbent government.

Meanwhile, after an ‘all-party’ interim cabinet was constituted on Nov 18, the ruling Awami League on Friday announced its list of candidates who will run in the next elections.

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