The government has banned all kinds of demonstrations, including meetings and processions, across the country for the next one month.
Home Minister MK Alamgir and LGRD and Cooperatives Minister Syed Ashraful Islam have provided varying explanations for the restriction.
Alamgir says the ban has been imposed to maintain law and order and prevent subversive acts while Ashraf says it is for the sake of smooth relief and rehabilitation activities in the Cyclone Mahasen-ravaged districts.
The main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist, meanwhile, angrily reacted to the government decision saying it would fight against the restriction.
Addressing a rally in Chittagong, MK Alamgir said on Sunday no political party would be allowed to hold any rally or demonstration for the next one month to maintain law and order and prevent subversive acts, reports UNB.
“Some political parties have caused a law and order problem in the name of holding their programmes. Hence, no one would be allowed to hold any kind of rally for the next one month,” said the home boss said.
MK Alamgir came up with the government decision while inaugurating the newly set up Jorarganj Police Station in Mirsarai upazila in Chittagong at noon.
He, however, did not clarify whether the ban will be enforced in Dhaka city or across the country and when it will come into effect.
Replying to a question why a democratic party like BNP is not allowed to hold its rallies, the home minister said, "Those who vandalise vehicles, resort to arson attacks, torch shops and business houses, attack mosques and burn the copies of the Holy Quran in the name of meetings and rallies they will not be allowed to stage rallies.”
“We admit that there is a right to hold rallies and public meetings, but we’ve taken the decision of restriction in the interest of maintaining law and order,” he added.
Referring to the prime minister’s dialogue offer for breaking the ongoing political standoff, the home minister hoped, the opposition will join the ensuing budget session of parliament and express their opinions about the dialogue.
Alamgir said: “The opposition will play its due role in taking the country towards a meaningful national election.”
Industries Minister Dilip Barua, Mosharraf Hossain, MP, and Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Chittagong range police Nausher Ali were, among others, present on the occasion.
Meanwhile, the Dhaka city unit of the AL-led 14-party combine postponed its rally, which was scheduled to be held at Mohammadpur in the capital at 3:00pm Sunday.
“We’ve postponed the programme following the home minister’s announcement,” Habibur Rahman Mizan, AL general secretary Mohammadpur thana unit, told UNB.
Speaking at a separate programme, Ashraf, also the LGRD and cooperatives minister, said the government had imposed a ban for one month on all kinds of political meeting and procession across the country for smooth relief and rehabilitation activities.
“It is not possible to protect the fundamental rights like meeting and rally when the country was hit by any natural disaster,” the minister said at a press briefing at the AL president’s Dhanmondi office.
Huge property has been destroyed and a trail of destruction left on the country’s coastal areas when Mahasen made landfall on Thursday, he said.
“All should be engaged in distributing relief and rehabilitating the cyclone-affected people,” the minister said.
“The curb will not only be applicable for the opposition, ruling party will also be come under the restriction,” Ashraf said.