Bangladesh’s five opposition leaders jailed over violence
Dhaka – Bangladesh opposition’s five top leaders, who were detained late Friday night and early Saturday, have been sent to jail in connection with two cases slapped on them for attempting to kill policemen and creating violence in the capital city, Xinhua reported.
The Chief Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court in Dhaka passed the order Saturday evening to send the leaders to jail.
Police placed before the court a 20-day remand plea for the leaders. The court fixed Nov 14 for hearing the remand plea. Earlier in the day, the Bangladesh’s main opposition party leaders were shown arrested in two cases filed Sep 24 and Nov 6.
The defendants included Moudud Ahmed, MK Anwar and Rafiqul Islam, who are members of standing committee, the highest policy- making body of the former prime minister Khaleda Zia’s Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).
The defendants also included BNP chairperson Khaleda’s advisor Abdul Awal Mintoo and her Special Assistant Shamsur Rahman Shimul Biswas who were arrested during a surprise crackdown on opposition.
In protest against the detentions, lawyers of the BNP and its key ally Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami party staged demonstrations on the court premises Saturday.
Opposition men and police have clashed in capital city of Dhaka and elsewhere in the country after the senior opposition figures were arrested.
Police arrested the BNP leaders hours after Khaleda’s opposition alliance announced 72-hour nationwide strike from Sunday morning, demanding national polls slated for early 2014 under a non-party caretaker government.
Protesting the arrest of top leaders, the opposition alliance, however, has extended its 72-hour shutdown, slated to begin at 6.00 a.m. (local time) Sunday, by 12 hours.
“It’s totally a false allegation that they (the arrested leaders) instigated violence,” BNP spokesman Rizvi Ahmed told Xinhua.
He also claimed that the arrests were made as part of the government’s conspiracy to hold a one-party election.
Paramilitary troops were deployed in Dhaka Saturday night amid fear of a violent face-off between activists of the ruling Bangladesh Awami League party and the BNP-led 18-party opposition alliance centring the latter’s 84-hour non-stop hartal from Sunday morning.