48-Hour Blockade Begins

Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

The sixth round of blockade enforced by the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party and its allies begins on Wednesday (November 22) morning amid continued arrests, intimidation, attacks, and night-time raids on the houses of leaders and activists of opposition parties.

The parties and alliances, including Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, the Liberal Democratic Party, Ganatantra Mancha, Gono Odhikar Parishad, and the Amar Bangladesh Party, have called for the 48-hour blockade to realise their one-point demand for the resignation of the Awami League government and the cancellation of the election schedule.

The opposition parties have enforced five spells of such a blockade since October 30, following a one-day dawn-to-dusk hartal on October 28, protesting an attack by police and ruling party people on the BNP’s October 28 grand rally in Dhaka.

The BNP and its allies observed a 48-hour countrywide hartal from Sunday morning to Tuesday morning after the Election Commission declared the schedule for the next general election on November 15.

BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, at a press virtual conference, urged the countrypeople, as well as party leaders and activists, to observe the fresh hartal programme peacefully.

He alleged that the ruling Awami League leaders and activists were committing arson and violence under the umbrella of law enforcement agencies.

‘BNP strongly condemns it. Besides, we demand a fair, impartial, and objective investigation into every incident,’ he said.

‘It is ridiculous that members of the law enforcement agencies are making allegations that members of the opposition party are involved in this kind of violence or arson attack amid security in the entire country, including the capital,’ he said.

He said that it has become clear to the people that Awami League leaders and activists were committing arson attacks and sabotage.

‘BNP strongly condemns and protests the Awami League’s arson and violence by misusing the state machinery to shift blame on BNP people,’ he alleged.

‘According to eyewitnesses, most of the incidents are taking place in the presence of law enforcement agency members or near large police checkpoints,’ Rizvi said.

Giving some examples, he said that on November 6, unknown people set fire to a bus parked right next to the traffic police box in Chattri Choumhani Bazar, Chittagong.

On October 31, a bus was set on fire near the National Press Club in Dhaka despite heavy police deployment. In the viral picture, it is seen that public transport is burning in front of the police box at Banglamotor crossing in Dhaka, surrounded by many policemen.

He said that on November 6, a local Juba League leader named Nurul Uddin Tipu in Feni was caught red-handed in an incident of setting fire to a sugar mill truck.

BNP and its movement partner parties have been holding non-stop street demonstrations since the police and ruling party attacked its Dhaka grand rally on October 28. After the foiled rally, police arrested nearly 15,000 BNP leaders and activists, including its secretary general, Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, and standing committee members Mirza Abbas and Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury, across the country.

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