Police and joint forces yesterday picked up at least 360 people including opposition activists across the country.
Of them, 167 were rounded up by joint forces in drives at several locations in the capital's Mirpur from 12:00am till 6:00am. At least 19 of them are opposition men with alleged links to subversive activities and they were held in Pallabi, Bhashantek, Rupnagar, Shah Ali and Mirpur, police said.
Meanwhile, the detectives have arrested at least seven BNP leaders and activists including two lawmakers either in front of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia's Gulshan residence or her office in the last three days.
With the seven, the number of BNP leaders arrested since November 8 rose to 45, of whom 30 are central leaders of the party and its associated bodies. On November 8, police arrested BNP standing committee members Moudud Ahmed, MK Anwar and Rafiqul Islam Mia, Khaleda's adviser Abdul Awal Mintoo and her personal aide Shimul Biswas. BNP standing committee member ASM Hannan Shah was arrested in December.
In Mirpur yesterday, war crimes accused and Jamaat leader Mir Quasem Ali's brother Mir Nasim Ali was picked up from his Senpara house, said Officer-in-Charge of Mirpur police Salauddin Khan.
More than 40 people, including at least one minor, were detained in a raid on a housing colony in Senpara owned by Nasim Ali.
Kulsum Begum was wailing outside Mirpur Police Station. "They took nearly all the men from the colony. My two sons, a tenth grader and an eleventh grader, were taken by the police, who barged into the house around 5:00am. I have not seen them since."
One Mirza Ikhtiar was waiting outside the station anxiously to know the fate of his 12-year-old cousin Khondoker Ahnaf Akib who was picked up from the same colony.
"Akib, his brother Sakib, a university student, and their father were picked up just before dawn. I have not seen Akib in the duty officer's room. I don't know if he has been put in the lockup," Mirza fretted.
Mirpur model police made the largest number of roundups. "Around 100 people were held for suspected involvement in violent activities. They were detained in two spots including the colony owned by Nasim Ali," said OC Salahuddin.
During an early morning raid, Mirpur police allegedly trashed the house of Mahbub Hasan and detained his wife and daughters.
Mahbub, the brother of Jubo Dal north unit President Mamun Hasan, claimed that police had gone to Mamun's house first to detain him and then to his house.
"The police came before the sun was up. They were banging on the door so I opened it. The Officer-in-Charge Salauddin Khan of Mirpur Police Station demanded I hand over my mobile phone. Then they stormed into the rooms of my wife and two daughters and shook them awake. The OC took their mobile phones and smashed them to pieces on the floor," said Mahbub.
He claimed that the police then ransacked the entire house without telling him why.
After these allegations were made late last night, The Daily Star could not reach OC Salauddin for his comments. His mobile phone was switched off.
Outside the capital, the joint forces made most of the roundups in Narayanganj, Comilla, Jhenidah, Natore, Jessore, Jhalakathi, Chittagong and Bogra.
In Chittagong, they conducted a drive on Syedpur and Sonaichhari unions and picked up four opposition activists. The detainees were allegedly involved in sabotage activities on Chittagong-Cox's Bazar highway, reports our correspondent quoting the OC of Sitakunda police station.
In addition, eight Jamaat-Shibir men were held by the police in Chittagong.
The joint forces also held eight BNP-Jamaat men in Natore and 12 in Jhenidah.
Police rounded up 52 people in a drive on all eight upazilas in Jessore. The detainees included 16 activists of BNP and Jamaat.
Thirty-five leaders and activists of BNP, Jamaat and its student body Islami Chhatra Shibir were held in raids in three upazilas of Comilla between 12:00am and 6:00am, reports our Comilla correspondent.
Of the detainees, 12 Jamaat-Shibir men were held in connection with setting fire to the office of Laksham upazila nirbahi officer yesterday, said OC Abul Khair of Laksham police.
Eleven opposition workers were detained in Chandpur, seven BNP activists were held in Narayanganj, while a Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal leader was picked up in Jhalakathi.