November 7, 2023
DHAKA – The BNP yesterday called a fresh 48-hour nationwide blockade of road, rail, and waterways from 6:00am tomorrow demanding resignation of the government and general election under a non-party neutral administration.
The party’s two-day blockade, which ended at 6:00am today, marked torching of vehicles and detention of its “275 leaders and activists” across the country.
The BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami had enforced a 72-hour nationwide blockade from October 31 following the violence centring the BNP’s October 28 grand rally. The blockade was called protesting police action on their demonstrations and arrests of leaders and activists.
Speaking at a virtual press briefing yesterday, BNP Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi said law enforcers arrested more than 5,559 party leaders and activists in 132 cases across the country from October 28 until yesterday afternoon.
The BNP also claimed that 275 party leaders and activists were detained and 10 cases were filed against 995 named and many unidentified party activists in 24 hours preceding yesterday evening.
A team of the Detective Branch of police arrested BNP Vice-Chairman Shamsuzzaman Dudu from the capital’s Cantonment area early yesterday. Later in the day, a Dhaka court placed him on three-day remand in a case filed over vandalising the chief justice’s residence during the BNP-police clash on October 28.
After the October 28 clash, law enforcers launched a massive drive and arrested at least 10 top BNP leaders, former lawmakers and key leaders of its district and city units.
The arrestees include BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, standing committee member Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury, vice chairmen Air Vice-Marshal (retd) Altaf Hossain Choudhury, Shahjahan Omar and Shamsuzzaman Dudu and Joint Secretary General Syed Moazzem Hossain Alal.
According to Dhaka Metropolitan Police, a total of 1,554 people were arrested in the DMP area and 102 cases were filed in nine days from October 28 for violence and breaching law. Of them, 52 were arrested and 13 cases were lodged on Sunday.
Our correspondents and fire service reported that at least 22 buses, trucks, human hauliers and CNG-run three-wheelers were torched in Dhaka, Chattogram, Gazipur, and Bogura during the two-day blockade.
Ten of the vehicles, including a Biman Bangladesh Airlines bus, were set on fire yesterday in the capital’s Postagola, Mugda, Motijheel, Gulistan, Khilkhet and Mirpur, Gazipur’s Kadamtoli and Shafipur, Chattogram’s Anwara and Patia and in Bogura.
In Manikganj, unidentified people early yesterday tried to block the Dhaka-Aricha highway in Jagir area by placing logs on the road. A group of Jamaat activists burnt a tyre on the rail track near Dhirashram station of Joydevpur in the morning. Police later dispersed the demonstrators.
Meanwhile, Border Guard Bangladesh and Rapid Action Battalion deployed more members of their forces across the country yesterday to help the administration maintain law and order.
A total of 228 BGB platoons were deployed across the country, including 27 in Dhaka and adjoining districts. Besides, as many as 460 Rab patrol teams were deployed countrywide, including 160 in Dhaka.
Yesterday, DMP Commissioner Habibur Rahman declared a bounty of Tk 20,000 for helping police arrest an arsonist.
A team of the DMP’s Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime unit arrested a Chhatra Dal leader and his associate in connection with torching a bus in the capital’s Mugda on November 1.
The two — Ameer Hossain Rocky, 25, joint convener of Sutrapur Thana Chhatra Dal, and Shakib alias Arohan, 21, — were picked up from Keraniganj, said CTTC chief Md Asaduzzaman.
At least nine other BNP activists, accused of sabotage and possessing firearms, were sent to jail in Tangail, Pirojpur and Thakurgaon yesterday following their arrests.
In the capital, more vehicles plied the city streets on the second day of the blockade yesterday compared to the previous day. The number of long-haul buses leaving the capital from Gabtoli and Sayedabad also increased yesterday, but the number of passengers was low.
Only a few Ena Enterprise buses left Mohakhali Bus Terminal till 1:15pm yesterday. However, train services were almost normal.