BNP, alliance call 36-hr hartal from Wednesday

The BNP-led 18-party alliance on Monday called a countrywide 36-hour shutdown from 6am on Wednesday demanding the release of its leaders and activist arrested from BNP’s Nayaplatan central office on March 11 and protesting “countrywide mass killing at the behest of the government.”

BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir announced the hartal programme at a press briefing at BNP’s Nayapaltan central office.

The shutdown programme is also meant for mounting pressure on the government to restore the non-party caretaker government, forcing the “failed, incompetent and autocratic regime” to quit.

Earlier, the opposition alliance also an enforced 36-hour shutdown from 6am on March 18 as the government did not release the opposition leaders and activists by their March 14 deadline.

However, the recent tornado affected areas in Brahmanbaria will remain out of purview of the fresh 36-hour hartal, said a party press release.

On March 11, police in a raid on BNP’s Nayapaltan central office arrested 157 of its leaders and workers, including acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir and joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi.

The law enforcers launched the drive in the BNP office after eight to ten crude bombs went off near the BNP central office while Fakhrul was addressing a rally.

Three of the arrested leaders—Mirza Fakhrul, Sadek Hossain Khoka and Altaf Hossain Chowdhury—were released the following day.

On March 20, two courts inDhakaplaced 154 leaders of the opposition alliance on an eight-day police remand in the two cases filed with the city’s Paltna police station.

Police on Sunday submitted a charge-sheet against 148 of them dropping the names of six BNP men in a case filed with Paltan police station under the Speedy Trial Act.

ADhakacourt on Monday accepted charges against the 148 leaders and activists of the BNP-led 18-party opposition alliance.

Addressing the press briefing, Fakhrul said his party hoped that the good sense would prevail upon the government to release the opposition men as the people of the country spontaneously observed the previous 36-hour shutdown to press home the demand.

“They (government) submitted charge-sheet against the arrested opposition leaders and activists while they were on remand. It’s unprecedented in any civilised country.”

Mentioning that his party observed the three-day national mourning with due respect postponing its all programmes, the BNP spokesman said the ruling and the government forces continued their oppression on people and killing disregarding the state programme.

He alleged that the ruling party cadres and police killed two opposition activists—in Jhenidah and Meherpur—during the national mourning.

BNP standing committee members Rafiqul Islam Miah, Mirza Abbas, Gayeshwar Chandra Roy, joint secretary general Salahuddin Ahmed and senior leaders of the 18-praty alliance were present.

Meanwhile, voicing resentment over the recent spate of killings, BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Monday said “genocide” has been carried out in the country after 42 years of the Liberation War.

“After 42 years, genocide has been unleashed again across the country. Why is this mass killing? Why are people indiscriminately being shot dead like birds,” the BNP leader said while addressing a discussion in the capital.

BNP organised the discussion at the Engineers’ Institute marking the Independence Day.

Accusing the government of trying to divide the nation, Fakhrul categorically said they will not allow the Awami League-led government to do so.

Blaming the government for recent attacks on the temples of Hindus at different parts of the country, he said, “Whenever Awami League assumes office, attacks on the minority communities take place.”

Stating that BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia called for launching the second Liberation War to save the country’s independence and sovereignty, Fakhrul urged all to build a strong resistance against the government to get rid of its misrule.

Reaffirming his party stance in favour of the ongoing war crimes trial, he said, “We always want war crimes trial, but not mockery in the name of trial. If the (war crimes) trial is held to make political gains, it will be questionable.” UNB

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