Home boss denies it all
The government has neither ordered law enforcers to bar city hoteliers from receiving guests nor asked transport owners to withdraw their vehicles, Home Minister Shahara Khatun claimed yesterday.
“Police were simply checking hotels and restaurants as part of their regular duties,” she told journalists at her secretariat office.
However, many hoteliers told The Daily Star that they were indeed asked by the police not to receive any guest till today.
Meanwhile, after a five-day drama, the Dhaka Metropolitan Police yesterday gave permission for the BNP rally.
The main opposition party sought the permission in an application on March 6. Since then, the party has contacted the police authorities for a decision but the police were saying nothing.
Habibur Rahman, deputy commissioner of DMP, in a letter to BNP Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi yesterday said the party could hold the programme at 2:00pm, but under 11 conditions.
Below is the translated version of the conditions:
1. Area of using of loudspeakers: Up to Fakirapool crossing in the east and up to Nightingale crossing in the west.
2. No loudspeaker can be used beyond those areas.
3. No projection can be set up beyond the areas mentioned in number 1.
4. If necessary, permission should be taken from the authorities concerned for the use of the rally venue.
5. No stage can be set up on the main road.
6. Except for a political speech, the stage cannot be used for any other purpose.
7. People can gather at the rally venue two hours before the scheduled time (2:00pm).
8. The rally must end by 5:30pm.
9. No gathering can be held before or after the approved time and traffic and public movement cannot be obstructed beyond the approved area.
10. During the rally, no activity should be undertaken that goes against the law and public interest.
11. The authorities, without having to show any reason, preserve the right to cancel the permission for the sake of public interest.
Six helicopters will hover over and around the rally venue, a reliable source in the DMP told The Daily Star.
Apart from police and Rab members, some 2,500 to 3,000 members of Border Guard Bangladesh will be on duty at various key city points today, the source added.
POLICE ON ALERT
The home minister said law enforcement agencies were put on alert in the capital and elsewhere in the country to prevent possible "anarchy" in the name of the rally.
"Law enforcers have been put on alert so that they [the opposition] cannot repeat incidents like the one on December 18 last year when the BNP carried out simultaneous bomb attacks at different city points and like the one on September 27 when the Jamaat men swooped on the police," she said.
Asked if she would resign over the killings of journalist couple Sagar and Runi and Saudi embassy official Khalaf Al-Ali, she said, “Nothing has happened that I will have to resign. I am carrying out my duties well.
“However, I won't wait for even a minute if the prime minister wants me to resign."
On the reported arrival of a Saudi investigation team to probe Khalaf's killing, she said she was not aware of the matter.
She also claimed progress on the Sagar-Runi killing case but declined to elaborate.