BNP Declares Dawn to Dusk Hartal for Thursday May 17
Dhaka, May 16: BNP has declared a 12-hourdawn-to-dusk countrywide hartal for Thursday May 17 in protest against the jail of their top leaders.
Thirty-four senior 18-party alliance leaders, including BNP acting Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, were sent to jail on Wednesday after they surrendered before a court here in an arson case.
Apart from Fakhrul, BNP’s standing committee members Dr Khandker Mosharraf Hossain, MK Anwar, Mirza Abbas, ASM Hannan Shah, Sadeque Hossain Khoka, Liberal Democratic Party president Oli Ahmed and other senior leaders of the coalition were charged in the case.
Meanwhile, at least 20 people including policemen and journalists were injured during clashes between lawyers, activists of 18-party alliance and police at Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Court premises. The clash ensued as soon as the news of sending the leaders to jail broke out.
Diganta TV cameraman Khalilur Rahman, Dainik Dinkal Arifuzzaman Mamun, ABC Radio’s Zilhajuddin Nipun, Channel 24 journalist Sazid, Boishakhi TV journalist Mahmud Sharif, bdnews24.com’s Anisur Rahman Khan were the journalists among the injured.
Of the injured, lawyer Hossain Ali Khan, also a leader Jatiyatabadi Lawyers’ Forum, was sent to Dhaka Medical College Hospital as his condition deteriorated. Besides, two other lawyers Nazrul Islam Pappu, and Akhtaruzzamn, were injured during the scuffle.
Violence also spread at different corners of the city and at least two buses were torched in city’s Motijheel AGB Colony, and Karwanbazar.
District units of BNP in Sirajganj, Pabna, Natore, Tangail, Bogra, and Thakurgaon called dawn-to-dusk shutdown in the respective districts in protest against the court’s decision.
Independent TV reported that hundreds of Liberal Democratic Party workers barricaded Chittagong-Cox’s Bazar highway in Chandanaish area. A number of vehicles were also vandalised by the workers. 15 LDP men were picked up from the spot.
Meanwhile in the capital, Police detained at least 100 18-party alliance men from different parts of the city for bidding to create anarchy, our correspondent reported.
Earlier in the noon, Metropolitan Magistrate Mohammad Erfanullah rejected the bail prayers after a brief hearing in connection with the case for setting ablaze a bus in front of prime minister’s office during April 29 hartal.
The hearing began at 12:40pm and concluded at 1:25pm.
Witnesses said hundreds of BNP leaders and activists thronged the court area when the leaders went to surrender.
Soon after the court cancelled the bail prayers and ordered to sent them to jail, , pro-BNP lawyers brought out processions in the court premises while other BNP men staged demonstration surrounding the court.
At one stage, The pro-BNP lawyers also pelted brickbats and PET water bottles at the law enforcers and court building.
According to witnesses several hundred personnel from police and Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) were deployed in and around the court area to tackle the situation.
Besides, traffic movement on the roads at English Road, Laxmibazar, Sadarghat, Jagannath University and adjacent areas remained suspended while almost all the offices and business establishments remained closed during the clashes.
Khurshid Hossain, deputy commissioner of Lalbagh Division of Dhaka Metropolitan Police, many people were detained for creating anarchy in the area.
He, however, said the number of arrested people was yet to be ascertained.
Security has been beefed up in and around the court premises prior to the surrender of the opposition leaders.
During the hearing, Barrister Moudud Ahmed, the counsel of the defendants, said that the charge against the 18-party alliance leaders is not acceptable and it is totally politically motivated.
Earlier in the morning, the leaders, accused in the case involving setting fire to a bus in front of PM office during the April 29 BNP-enforced hartal, arrived at the crowded court premises in old Dhaka, court sources said, adding the court is expected to start hearing after mid-day Wednesday.
On May 13, the third bench of the High Court directed the leaders, accused of torching the bus, to surrender before the trial court by May 16.
Justice Anwarul Haque also asked the law enforcers not to arrest or harass the petitioners during the two-day period.
On May 10, Chief Justice Md Mozammel Hossain sent the bail petitions of 34 alliance leaders, who earlier secured anticipatory bails following a split verdict in two cases, to a third bench of the High Court for final disposal.
On May 7, the HC bench, comprising Justice Moyeenul Islam Chowdhury and Justice Nazrul Islam Talukder, passed the split order over 34 bail petitions filed by senior alliance leaders, including its acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir.
The senior judge of the HC bench Moyeenul Islam Chowdhury granted anticipatory bail for the BNP leaders till submission of the charge sheets in connection with the cases. He also issued two separate rules asking the government to explain within four weeks why the petitioners should not be granted permanent bail in the cases.
On the other hand, junior judge Nazrul Islam Talukder directed the petitioners to surrender before the trial court within next seven days. He also directed the law enforcers not to arrest or harass the petitioners during the seven-day time.
As a result the petitions were sent to Chief Justice Mozammel Hossain for constitution of a third bench for final disposal of the bail petitions.
On April 29, Tejgaon police filed a case against 44 leaders and activists of the BNP-led 18-party alliance for allegedly torching the bus.
BNP call for Hartal in 16 districts for Thursday, May 17
Opposition BNP called dawn-to-dusk hartal in 16 district of northern region of the country for Thursday in protest against arrest of 33 leaders of 18-party alliance.
Iqbal Hasan Mahmud Tuku, BNP chairperson Khaleda’s political adviser and also Northern Districts’ Coordinator of Ilias Ali rescue movement, made the announcement at a press conference on Wednesday noon.
He said, “The government has filed different types of cases against opposition leaders instead of giving Ilias Ali back. They are obstructing democracy through arresting the leaders.”
Tuku criticized the government for sending 33 leaders of 18-party alliance, including BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir to jail in a case filed for torching vehicle in front of PMO office during hartal.
He urged the people of 16 northern districts to make the hartal a success.