Friday, June 22, 2018 - 838 hours ago
The BNP has accused the government of using the police to arrest party leaders and activists and intimidate others to create tension ahead of the Gazipur City Corporation (GCC) election, slated for June 26. The party leaders alleged that the government was following the ‘Khulna style’.
The BNP’s mayoral candidate, Hasanuddin Sarker, yesterday lodged a complaint with the returning office that his election campaigners were being arrested and search drives were being carried out in the residences of some leaders, including union chairpersons.
“The police are arresting our leaders and activists and taking them to other districts. They are also carrying out search drives in the residences of party leaders to create panic among them. They are following the Khulna style,” said the convenor of the election
conducting committee, Ehsanul Haque Milon. He claimed that police have arrested 10 to 15 leaders and activists from different areas of the city to restrain them from participating in the election process. Most of the arrestees are convenors or member secretaries of the election coordination committee at the ward level.
Haque, also the organising secretary and district president of the party, said they have lodged a complaint with the returning officer. In his complaint, Sarker claimed that the police have carried out mass arrests of BNP workers and 20-Party Alliance leaders and activists from different areas of the city. On Thursday morning, he appeared in the returning officer’s office at Bangataz auditorium of Gazipur town and filed the complaint.
Dr Mazharul Alam, a central leader of the BNP and the chief of the media cell of the BNP-nominated mayoral candidate, said, “Police of the Detective Branch (DB) of Dhaka and Gazipur conducted raids at 20-Party Alliance leaders’ houses on Wednesday night. The police arrested more than 10 leaders of the BNP directly involved in the upcoming election.”
The returning officer of the GCC poll, Rakib Uddin Mondol, said the complaint received from the BNP candidate has been sent to the magistrates and their correspondents. He said, “I will try my best to ensure the BNP activists are not unjustly harassed.”
Meanwhile, with only three days left to go, the poll campaign has peaked, with local and central leaders of the BNP canvassing for the sheaf of paddy, the party’s election symbol. As many as 50 central leaders of the party, including standing committee members Nazrul Islam Khan, Barrister Moudud Ahmed and Shama Obayed, are taking part. Central coordinator Dr Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain is expected to go to Gazipur to take part in the poll campaign today while 20-Party Alliance leaders will arrive on Saturday.
In another development, a five-member delegation of Democracy International yesterday (Thursday) met the BNP mayoral candidate at his residence. A close aide of Sarker said the delegation wanted to know whether they are being obstructed, whether there is a level playing field and whether they are facing problems with polling agents. In his reply, Sarker apprised the delegation about the arrests, but said they are still hopeful that a free and fair poll would be held.
Meanwhile, BNP senior joint secretary-general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, at a press conference at the party’s central office, alleged that the EC was busy imparting a new dimension to the Gazipur polls like it had done in Khulna.
Again, Sushasoner Jonne Nagorik (Sujan) yesterday held a face-to-face programme of ward councillor candidates at Ward No. 39 where they answered different questions from voters and focused on their future plans and expectations. The secretary of the NGO, Badiul Alam Majumder, conducted the function.