Monday 5, June 2023

BNP activists and leaders on the run to avoid arrest

Tine Digital News: Bangladesh Nationalist Party's leaders and activist have fled their houses in various districts for fear of being arrested as the police have been raiding their houses since the party stepped up its political programmes, mainly to protest at the increase in fuel and commodity prices.

Those leaders and activists who are still in their localities are staying away from their houses at night, BNP leaders and correspondents from districts confirmed.

Since August 22, when the BNP began protesting across the country against the increase in prices, three leaders and activists of the party have been killed and more than 2,000 injured in attacks by and clashes with the police and ruling Awami League activists.

According to the BNP, more than 200 of its leaders and activists were arrested till Thursday while the police have filed at least 60 cases against at least 4,080 named and more than 20,000 unnamed leaders and activists.

In at least 50 incidents, ruling party leaders and activists vandalised houses and businesses of the opposition party people and BNP party offices while the civil administration imposed Section 144 in some 25 incidents.

At the latest incident, Sirajganj district BNP general secretary and top five leaders of the district were arrested in the capital on Friday night.

Confirming the matter, Sirajganj Sadar police officer-in-charge Humayun Kabir said that the Sirajganj district detective and sadar thana police arrested them at Adabar near Ring Road in Dhaka.

They were sent to jail by a court on Saturday afternoon, he said.

The five BNP leaders have been arrested in a case filed by the police in connection with a clash of BNP leaders and activists with the police in Sirajganj, he said.

Those arrested are BNP central executive committee member and Sirajganj district BNP general secretary Saidur Rahman, district BNP vice-presidents Amar Krishna Das and Shamim Khan, organising secretary Abu Said and Kazipur upazila BNP joint convenor Rashed Kabir.

According to the police, the case was filed on September 2 following a clash between the BNP and the police on September 1.

Police earlier arrested five other people in the case.

About the police measures, BNP standing committee member Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain told that the government had established a ‘haunting situation’ in rural areas.

‘While the named accused are on the run as they know that they have been made accused, ordinary BNP supporters and activists also fled from their localities as there are a huge number of unnamed accused in all the recent cases,’ he added.

The senior BNP leader said that the party had decided to form ‘legal help cells’ for each of the districts to provide legal support to party leaders and activists.

Asked, AL presidium member Mohammad Abdur Razzaque said that the police had filed the cases against BNP leaders and activists as they had started violent activities in the name of movement.

‘There is no problem if the BNP holds peaceful programmes. But problems arise when people attack the police,’ he said, adding that the BNP is holding programmes across the country but cases have been filed in some places on specific allegations of attacks on the police.

Political analyst Tofail Ahmed said that this kind of attacks on the opposition and cases against such a massive number of named and unnamed people would make politics more complicated in the future.

‘We did also experience such a trend of filing cases against opposition leaders and activists before the 10th and 11th parliamentary polls. So, it is easy to understand what is going to happen as the next general election is in the offing,’ he added.

On September 1, an activist of the BNP’s youth front Juba Dal, Shaon Pradhan, was killed in police firing when activists in processions were gathering for a party anniversary rally in Narayangaj.

Following the Narayangaj incident, the police filed a case against 71 named and 5,000 unnamed BNP people on charges of attacking police members and of committing vandalism. The police arrested 10 BNP activists in that case.

Many leaders and activists in Narayangaj have, meanwhile, fled their areas to avoid arrest.

In Kishoreganj, BNP leaders and activists of Pakundia upazila are on the run as the police filed a case against 1,500 BNP leaders and activists on September 3 over a clash the BNP had with Awami League activists and police personnel at the Pakundia upazila headquarters on the day. The clash left 100 injured.

In Jhalakathi, after filing a case against more than 150 named and unnamed BNP leaders and activists over a clash between AL and BNP activists in Kanthalia upazila, many leaders and activists of the opposition party have gone into hiding for fear of being arrested.

In Natore, after the police filed a case against 358 named and unnamed BNP leaders and activists on September 6 over a clash between the BNP and the police in Lalpur, party leaders are on the run.

In the case, the police accused 58 named and 300 unnamed leaders and activists.

Lalpur upazila unit BNP member secretary Harunur Rashid said that party leaders and activists were staying in bushes at night to avoid arrest. In August, two BNP activists were killed in police firing in Bhola.

According to the BNP, more than one lakh cases were filed against 36 lakh BNP leaders and activists since the Awami League came to power in 2009.


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