BNP activists and supporters gather in front of the party's Nayapaltan headquarters yesterday as police bar them from entering the office. Law enforcers had been guarding the place since morning. Photo: Anisur Rahman
Law enforcers cordoned off BNP headquarters in the capital, stopping its leaders and activists from entering the office yesterday, a day before the BNP-led 20-party alliance's silent processions in protest at Israeli offensive in the Gaza strip.
More than a hundred policemen and plainclothes intelligence officers, equipped with armoured personnel carriers, water canons and prison vans, started gathering in front of the BNP office since 8:00am, a BNP office staff told The Daily Star.
Due to police interception, Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal and various other front organisations of BNP could not celebrate BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia's birthday programme at the party office, a party insider said adding that they could not take necessary preparations for today's silent processions in the capital and elsewhere in the country.
The BNP and the allies last week decided to bring out silent processions carrying black flags across the country in protest at the killing of Palestinian people in Gaza.
However, BNP Joint Secretary General Rizvi Ahmed, Khaleda Zia's adviser Shamsuzzaman Dudu and two other BNP leaders were allowed to enter the office between 9:30am to 10:30am.
Later on, in a hurriedly called press conference at the party office, Rizvi lambasted the Sheikh Hasina government for cordoning off BNP headquarters ahead of today's programme.
"Law enforcement agencies are coming up with lame excuses to make the BNP office a cage," said Rizvi at the press briefing.
About today's silent procession in the capital, Rizvi told The Daily Star that although the party has got assurance from the Dhaka Metropolitan Police, it has yet to get any permission in writing.
Ashrafuzzaman, deputy commissioner (Motijheel zone) of DMP, however, denied BNP's allegations saying that security has been beefed up in the capital on the occasion of the National Mourning Day.
"We did not prevent anybody from entering the BNP office. What can we do if they [BNP leaders and activists] do not want to enter their office?" he told The Daily Star.
The DMP has given the BNP-led 20-party alliance permission to bring out their silent processions, he added.
Police relaxed its vigilance on the BNP office after the January 5 election, which was boycotted by then BNP-led 18-party alliance and most other political parties.
The law enforcement agency, however, tightened its watch on the BNP central office particularly after the formation of a new convening committee of Dhaka city unit of BNP in Mid-July, considered to be the party's crucial chapter to wage tougher anti-government movement in the capital.