Police units are arresting leaders of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party and its associate bodies in Dhaka and its adjacent areas ahead of a mass rally in the capital to be held on December 10.
The politicians, who mainly mobilise their activists, have been ‘targeted’ and arrested in recent weeks, the party said.
Many leaders said they were now spending nights outside their homes and meeting people cautiously to avoid arrests.
The police, however, claimed they had not been instructed to make any ‘targeted arrest’ but the law would take its own course if anyone was found to be causing any trouble.
Syed Nurul Islam, the deputy inspector general of police for the Dhaka range, stated that they had received no orders to arrest the opposition activists, but that if anyone committed a crime, they would face consequences.
On Friday night, police arrested 32 BNP leaders, including former Banani Thana unit president Abul Kalam Azad, also an ex-councillor of the erstwhile Dhaka City Corporation, and his activists from a food court in the capital’s Mohakhali in a case.
The case was filed with the Kafrul police station on October 23 over ‘attacking law enforcers’ and ‘recovery of crude bombs’.
Hafizur Rahman, the officer-in-charge of the Kafrul police station, said that they had arrested the BNP leaders and activists from SKS Tower around 10:00pm when they were holding secret meetings to put the government in trouble.
He said that five, including Abul Kalam Azad, were remanded for one day each by a metropolitan magistrate court on Saturday.
On November 2, law enforcement agencies arrested Humayun Kabir, the former organising secretary of the Darussalam thana BNP unit, in connection with a case filed with Pallabi police station.
Rayhan Islam, who was competing for the post of president of the Shah Ali Thana unit of Chhatra Dal, was arrested on October 27 in connection with a case filed with Pallabi police station, while Mohammad Parvez, the organising secretary of the ward 7 BNP unit, was arrested on November 7 in a Pallabi police station case.
Afzal Hossain, the president of the ward 11 BNP unit, was arrested on November 2 by the Mirpur police station.
Jatiyatabadi Swechchasebak Dal’s Mirpur Thana unit joint convener KM Yeahia Same told New Age that they had been targeted since September.
‘The arrest has intensified in recent weeks.’
BNP Dhaka South City Unit convener Abdus Salam said that several leaders and organisers of the December 10 rally, including two of the joint conveners, were arrested in November.
He said that joint convener Abdus Sattar, Motijheel Thana BNP leader Harunur-Rashid, Paltan Thana unit BNP former president Lokman Hossain Fakir, and Motijheel Thana unit leader Mohammad Ismail, have been arrested in different cases in recent days.
On November 9, a metropolitan magistrate court in Dhaka placed former ward councillor and BNP’s Dhaka City South unit joint convener Harun, Jatiyatabadi Secchasebok Dal’s Central Committee vice-president Rafique Howlader, and Jubo Dal’s Central Committee former vice-president Md Ali Akbar Chunnu on a one-day remand each in a case filed over the attack on retired Supreme Court justice AHM Shamsuddin Choudhury Manik in front of BNP party office on November 2.
They were remanded in custody to find out the names and addresses of ‘financers’ and instigators responsible for committing such offences.
BNP joint senior secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi told that those arrests were made to foil the December 10 mass rally in Dhaka.
‘The government thinks that with the targeted arrests they will be able to frighten organisers, who are mobilising people, or the activists, and they will stay away from attending political activities,’ he said.
‘But, these arrests and intimidation will make people more united.’