Khaleda Zia Corruption Case Verdict: Over 200 held as BNP stages demo
12:00 AM, February 10, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:46 AM, February 10, 2018

Over 200 held as BNP stages demo

Nationwide protests against Khaleda's graft case verdict largely peaceful

More than 200 BNP men were arrested during the party's nationwide demonstration yesterday against the conviction of Khaleda Zia in a corruption case.

However, no major incident of violence was reported anywhere in the country amid a tight security.

Chase and counter-chase took place in some districts after police baton-charged BNP supporters to disperse their processions.

The BNP had called the protest programme on Thursday, hours after a special court sentenced party Chairperson Khaleda to five years' rigorous imprisonment in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.

She is now in old Dhaka Central Jail on Nazim Uddin Road.

The special court also sentenced her eldest son and BNP Senior Vice Chairman Tarique Rahman, and four others to 10 years' rigorous imprisonment and slapped each a fine of Tk 2.1 crore.

Yesterday, a Dhaka court placed 74 BNP men, arrested over violence on Thursday, on remand for different terms. The violence broke out after police tried to stop party leaders and activists from joining Khaleda's motorcade heading towards the special court in Bakshibazar.

The arrestees included the BNP chief's Special Assistant Shamsur Rahman Shimul Bishwas and Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal President Rajib Ahsan.

Ten more BNP activists held Thursday, including some females, were sent to jail.

In Dhaka, BNP men, led by party Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, brought out a protest procession in Baitul Mukarram National Mosque area after yesterday's Juma prayers.

Police intercepted the procession as it tried to head towards the party headquarters at Naya Paltan having crossing Fakirapool. The protestors chanted slogans, demanding Khaleda's release.

A few minutes later, another procession, brought out near the party office, tried to go towards the Nightingale intersection. But police stopped it as well and chased the BNP men away. Many of the protestors were picked up there, The Daily Star correspondent reported from the scene.

Shibli Noman, additional deputy commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (Motijheel Division), said police did not use force as the BNP men were largely peaceful. 

A huge number of law enforcers, including members of police and Rapid Action Battalion, were deployed in and around the area to avoid any untoward situation, he said.

In Tangail, 10 people, including five policemen, were hurt in a clash between BNP men and law enforcers in Gopalpur upazila.

Chase and counter-chase began when police tried to foil a demonstration by around 200-300 BNP men near Avangee intersection in Gopalpur municipality area around 2:30pm.

Police alleged that BNP men equipped with arms attacked the law enforcers while party leaders claimed that the law enforcers swooped on the peaceful demonstrators first.

Police fired 22 blank shots to bring the situation under control.

A case was filed with Gopalpur Police Station last night over the incident.

In Chittagong, some 300 BNP men joined a demonstration in front of the party office.

Police said 34 BNP-Jamaat men were also arrested in raids in different upazilas of the district. They were held on charges of carrying out subversive activities on Thursday.

Meanwhile, a Chittagong court sent 19 BNP men, including city unit BNP President Shahdat Hossain, to jail after they were produced before it.

Two cases were filed with city's Kotwali Police Station against 49 BNP men in connection with violence on Thursday. The violence left 15 people, including eight policemen, injured in Kazir Dewri area of the port city.

In Sylhet, several hundred BNP men brought out a procession near the shrine of Hazrat Shahjalal (RA) after Jumma prayers. The procession ended at the Chowhatta point.

Police did not try to stop them. No violence was reported.

The law enforcers filed a case against 47 named and 150 unnamed BNP men yesterday over Thursday's violence and a clash in Bandarbazar area of the city.

In Mymensingh, police arrested 30 BNP men, including its district unit secretary Abu Wahab Akanda, yesterday.

BNP men tried to bring out a protest procession on Boundary Road area of the town in the afternoon. They blasted several cocktails during the procession, police said.

In Dinajpur, BNP leaders and activists could not bring out any procession due to obstruction from police.

At least 38 people were also picked up from several areas of the district.

In Bagerhat, five party men, including four pro-BNP lawyers, were arrested in Launch Ghat area of Sadar Upazila. Besides, ruling party men along with some locals beat up four activists of Bangladesh Islami Chhatra Shibir in Morelgong upazila and handed them over to police.

In Narayanganj, police arrested four BNP activists from a procession, brought out by Juba Dal district unit around 3:00pm yesterday. At that time, police charged batons on the activists to disperse them.

Also, a case was filed over the death of a man in a gunfight on Thursday. The incident happened as two groups of ruling party men hit the street to show off muscle power ahead of the Thursday's verdict.

In Natore, police arrested four BNP men when some party men brought out a procession after Jumma prayers.

Four others were arrested in raids on Thursday night.

In Khulna, a case was filed against 28 BNP leaders and activists, including Nazrul Islam Monju, city unit president of BNP, and unnamed 60 to 70 people yesterday for blocking roads, disrupting normal public movement and obstructing police from discharging duties.

The BNP yesterday staged demonstration peacefully in front of the party office.

In Satkhira, a case was filed yesterday against 16 BNP leaders, including district unit president Rahamatullah Palash, Secretary Tariul Hasan and some 40/50 unnamed people on charges of torching a bus on Thursday night beside Kaliganj-Satkhira road.  

Many other BNP leaders and activists were arrested elsewhere in the country.


[Our correspondents in the districts contributed to this report]

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