Ref: BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami have given separate calls for demonstrations on June 15 and 16 to protest ‘suppression of opposition activists’ during the 36-hour general strike.
The main opposition and its ally Jamaat observed the two-day countrywide shutdown on June 12 and 13 in protest against the government move to repeal caretaker government system, and recommendations of the special parliamentary committee for constitution review.
According to him, demonstrations will be held in Dhaka on June 15 and across the country the following day.
Addressing a separate press conference at the party’s Moghbazar headquarters, Jamaat acting secretary general A T M Azharul Islam declared that the party would hold a rally in the capital on June 15 and rallies across the country on June 16.
Condemning severely police action against journalists, Fakhrul congratulated his party men, allies and the nation at large for making the strike successful.
“People do suffer a little due to the strike, but they will support any programme for their greater good,” he said.
“The government is cracking down not only on strikes, but also on peaceful programmes like human chains and rallies.”
He demanded release of all those arrested during the strike.
Police arrested three BNP leaders—Harun-ur-Rashid MP, former MP Nazimuddin Alam and Abed Hasan Raja, a leader from Sylhet—on the second day of the shutdown.
At the press briefing, Fakhrul said six other leaders were also arrested from in front of the party office and three others elsewhere in the city.
The first 24 hours of the hartal, enforced from 6am on Sunday, passed off with mobile courts handing down instant punishment to around 80 opposition activists in the capital.
On the second day, mobile courts punished nine for obstructing government work, according to the Dhaka district administration.
Fakhrul, however, claimed that the mobile courts had punished over 300 BNP activists across the country during the 36-hour shutdown.
In reply to a question, he said mobile courts were an administrative organ. “But the government is using it to serve their political interests.”
Rights body Ain o Salish Kendra on Sunday expressed concern over the mobile courts’ operations, but home minister Shahara Khatun defended it, saying they were operating in line with the legal provisions.
He said the opposition would fight this action legally as well as through movements.
Police on Sunday also arrested former home minister Altaf Hossain Chowdhury and former water resources minister Hafiz Uddin Ahmed, also BNP vice-presidents, in the city.
Meanwhile, reports say 19 were arrested on Monday in Chittagong city and 51 others across the country.
Fakhrul claimed that over 1,000 BNP supporters were arrested since the lockdown was declared on Friday.
“On Monday, there have been 450 arrests, including more than 100 in the capital,” he said.
More than 350 opposition activists were injured at the hands of police and the ruling party men on Monday, he claimed.
NO ALTERNATIVE PROPOSAL
“The 13th amendment was done as per our proposal. So, we have no alternative to suggest. If an alternative is necessary, the government will have to present that,” Fakhrul said in reply to a query.
The ruling party has been asking BNP to present an alternative to the caretaker government system.
CAPITAL UNDER STRIKE
The number of motorised vehicles, including buses, auto-rickshaws and three-wheelers, was relatively higher on Monday in the capital than on Sunday.
However, most of the shops and business establishments kept their shutters down.
Train and flight operations, according to the authorities, were near-normal on Monday. Several inter-district buses also left capital’s Sayedabad terminal, but none were seen leaving Mohakhali or Gabtali terminals.
Activities in all kinds of offices went on with thin presence.
No significant picketing, other than pro-hartal processions at a few places, was seen in the capital. Massive police contingents and several mobile courts remained deployed on the streets.
As on Sunday, BNP leaders and activists, including acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, gathered in front of the party’s Naya Paltan head office, but could not take out any procession, as police kept the office besieged.
Two buses were set ablaze on Sunday night, taking the number of vehicles consigned to flames in the capital since Saturday to 11.
BOMBS FOUND IN DU
Meanwhile, two handmade bombs were found near the Dhaka University vice-chancellor’s residence.
Proctor Saiful Islam Khan told bdnews24.com that cleaners saw the bombs around 10am near the east gate of the residence.
Later, police took control of the bombs, he added.