Zainal Abdin Farroque and Rizvi Ahmed
A Dhaka court today indicted 147 leaders and activists of BNP-led 18-party alliance (now 20-party) including then opposition chief Zainal Abdin Farroque in a case filed for assaulting police and blasting bombs near BNP’s Nayapaltan office in Dhaka during the anti-government movement in March last year.
Farroque and 98 other accused, which also include BNP leaders Rizvi Ahmed and Amanullah Aman, pleaded not guilty and demanded justice after Metropolitan Magistrate Tareq Mainul Islam Bhuiyan read out charges to them.
The court cancelled bail petitions of 48 other accused and issued arrest warrants against them as they were not present at the court.
It fixed September 25 for starting trial of the case filed against 154 people with Paltan Police Station under the Speedy Trial Act.
Police on March 24 pressed charges against 148 leaders and activists of the alliance in the case.
Charges against one, out of the 148 accused, were dropped as he died last year.
On March 11, law enforcers detained 157 leaders and activists of the BNP-led alliance during a raid on the BNP headquarters on that day after cocktails went off at a rally in front of the office.
Of the detained leaders, BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, its vice chairman Altaf Hossain Chowdhury and Dhaka city unit convener Sadeque Hossain Khoka were released the next day.
Paltan police filed two cases against the 154 detained opposition leaders and activists the same day.
On March 20, 151 opposition leaders and activists except Zainul, Aman and Rizvi were placed on remand for their alleged involvement in the case.
Such a large number of people had never been remanded at a time before in the country’s history. Previously, the highest number of accused remanded in any case was 60, according to the court records.