BNP on Friday called upon the Dhaka city dwellers to spontaneously join their party’s rally in Golapbagh field peacefully to give the government a befitting reply to its efforts to foil a democratic programme.
“We will hold the programme in Dhaka peacefully as we did in nine other divisional cities. We call upon people from all walks of life to participate in our programme spontaneously,” said Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, a former cabinet minister and the most senior member of the BNP's standing committee.
He was speaking at a press conference held at the party chairperson's Gulshan office following a virtual meeting of the leaders of the BNP standing committee.
Mosharraf said their party will start the rally at 11am on Saturday on the Golapbagh ground as Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) has already given permission to use the venue.
He alleged that the government has created unnecessary chaos over giving the party permission for the venue to hold Saturday’s rally and bought time with an evil motive to foil the programme.
The BNP leader also said the government resorted to violence at Nayapaltan on Wednesday and arrested many party leaders and activists and caused injuries to many others to spread panic among the people so that they don’t join the rally.
“We believe people will give a befitting reply to the government’s evil efforts by spontaneously joining the rally on Saturday,” he said.
Mosharraf, however, sought cooperation from the police in ensuring security for the rally and cooperation for holding it peacefully.
Demand for immediate release of Mirza Fakhrul, Abbas and other party leaders-activists
Mosharraf strongly condemned and protested the arrest of BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir and Standing Committee member Mirza Abbas in the dead of night.
“The arrest of Fakhrul and Abbas is an extreme manifestation of the government’s fascist character.”
He demanded the government immediately release the two top leaders and all other party leaders and activists who were arrested involving the rally on Saturday.
Mosharraf hoped that a mass wave will be created towards their rally as it is going to be held braving various obstacles, repressive acts and arrests of many party leaders and activists. “It’s a programme of people and they’ll make it a success, no matter how many BNP leaders are being arrested.”
As part of the move to continue the pace of its ongoing movement, the BNP on September 27 announced a series of public rallies in 10 divisional cities to denounce the price hike of daily essentials and fuels, the death of five party men in previous police action in Bhola, Narayanganj, Munshiganj and Jashore, and to ensure the freedom of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia.
The party has already arranged rallies in Chattogram, Mymensingh, Khulna, Rangpur, Barishal, Faridpur, Sylhet, Cumilla and Rajshahi braving various obstacles and transport strikes.
BNP has long been demanding that the next general election be held under a caretaker government, not under any political government — a demand sharply rejected by the ruling Awami League as the constitution does not allow it to happen.
The party is going to conclude the divisional rallies through a mass gathering in Dhaka city tomorrow (Saturday) which coincides with International Human Rights Day.
New programmes to be announced
Mosharraf said from their rally, they will announce a 10-point demand for ensuring the fall of the Awami League government.
“We have already discussed the points of the movement with those who are ready for waging a simultaneous movement with us. We hope they will simultaneously announce the 10 points—that we have formulated-- from their respective positions,” he said.
Mosharraf hoped that all parties who reach an understanding with them to initiate a simultaneous movement—will move forward and intensify the anti-government agitation based on the points of the movement to be declared from the rally.
Earlier, Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) permitted the party to hold their rally at Golapbagh.
BNP vice chairman Dr AZM Zahid Hossain disclosed the matter to the media after a meeting with Chief of Detective Branch of Dhaka Metropolitan Police Harun Or Rashid on Friday noon.
The DB chief also assured the delegation of ensuring security measures at the venue and asked to take preparations to hold the rally in Golapbagh ground, said Zahid.
BNP in the early hours on Friday claimed that plainclothes police picked up Fakhrul and Abbas from their homes in separate raids in Dhaka.
Earlier on Thursday night, a BNP delegation had a six-hour meeting with the DMP commissioner where they talked about holding the rally on Saturday (December 10) either at Kamalapur Stadium or Mirpur Bangla College ground.
Later, Abbas with some BNP leaders visited the two venues. At that meeting, police authorities assured of reopening the BNP office at Nayapaltan, however, the area remained under police control since Friday morning.
On Wednesday, a Swechchasebak Dal leader was killed and around 50 others were injured in a clash between police and the BNP activists in front of the party’s Nayapaltan central office ahead of its December 10 rally.
Following the clash, police raided the BNP office and arrested around 300 party leaders and activists from there.