Opposition BNP on Tuesday threatened to intensify the ongoing movement further if the government does not withdraw the ‘false’ cases filed against its leaders and activists and release them immediately.
“We demand withdraw of all the false cases filed against BNP leaders and activists and their immediate and unconditional release. Otherwise, we’ll intensify our movement with harsher programmes,” said BNP chairperson’s adviser Shamsuzzam Dudu.
He was addressing a press briefing on the first-day of the 18-parety alliance’s 36-hour hartal at BNP’s Nayapaltan central office.
The first day of the shutdown was marked by the killing of a truck driver, vandalism and crude bomb blasts. The 18-party called the hartal soon after three Dhaka courts on Sunday sent 10 senior BNP leaders, including its acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, to jail in seven cases filed over March 1 violence.
The opposition alliance enforced the shutdown at 6am today (Tuesday) to realise its various demands, including the release of its arrested leaders and activists. The hartal will continue till 6 pm on Wednesday.
Reacting to the remarks of the ruling party leaders that the opposition is trying to create a volatile situation for the promulgation of state of emergency, Dudu said, “The opposition can’t impose emergency…it’s the government that does it.”
Asked whether the government is arresting the top opposition leaders for reaching a covert negotiation in jail, Dudu said there are many ideal places outside jail for dialogue if the government is sincere to resolve the political stalemate. “Nothing good will be achieved by resorting to respressive acts.”
About the Finance Minister’s remark that the political crisis will be over within a month, the BNP leader said his party will welcome it if the government restores stability in the country by arranging the next general election under a non-party caretaker government after quitting power.
Dudu harshly criticised the government for what he said arresting his party’s top leaders in “false cases” and resorting to repressive acts against the opposition leaders and activists.
“It’s now a matter of time to give a befitting reply to your waywardness. The time is very short; you even won’t find the known lane to escape during public wraths,” he said pointing at the current regime.
Accusing the government of turning the country into a death valley, the BNP leader said the government apparently declared a war against people as the law enforcers are firing indiscriminate shots on them at the behest of ministers. The new names are being added everyday to the list of those killed.”
Dudu said the hartal was being observed across the country with the spontaneous participation of people. He claimed that police arrested over 206 opposition activists across the country during the hartal hours on Wednesday, while over 322 injured in attacks by law enforcers and ‘ruling party cadres’. “Besides, some 800 BNP men were implicated in false cases and five others sentenced to six months’ imprisonment by a mobile court.”
BNP assistant office secretaries Abdul Latif Jony and agriculturist Shamimur Rahman Shamim were present at the briefing.