BNP leaders stay underground
BNP Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi landed in Dhaka Central Jail yesterday after a court denied him bail in two cases filed over the recent hartal violence in the capital.
A metropolitan magistrate's court also rejected the police petitions seeking to take the BNP leader on a 15-day remand.
In another development, the High Court yesterday granted anticipatory bail to BNP lawmaker Mahbubuddin Khokon, an accused in one of the two cases.
Rizvi was arrested from the capital's Kakrail area on April 30, the last day of the second back-to-back countrywide shutdown in protest at the disappearance of BNP leader Ilias Ali and his driver.
Meanwhile, several top BNP leaders, including Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, Mirza Abbas, Goyeshwar Chandra Roy and Aman Ullah Aman, remain hiding since April 30, party leaders said.
They are not staying at their homes to evade arrest in connection with those cases, they added.
The cases -- one for exploding "bombs" in the secretariat compound and the other for torching a bus near the Prime Minister's Office on April 29 -- were filed on Sunday night against senior leaders of the BNP-led 18-party alliance.
The accused include BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul, Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, party standing committee members Mirza Abbas, Goyeshwar Chandra Roy and Hannan Shah and party lawmaker Shahiduddin Chowdhury Anee and Liberal Democratic Party President Oli Ahmed.
On April 30, police raided the houses of Mirza Fakhrul, Mirza Abbas, former lawmaker couple Khairul Kabir Khokon and Shirin Sultana, BNP leader Habib-un-Nabi Sohel and Jubo Dal leader Moazzem Hossain Alal.
Most of them were not home during the raid, police and BNP sources said.
BNP's moves on Wednesday to secure HC bail for the accused leaders have failed.
The party yesterday accused the government of influencing the court, and like on Wednesday, pro-BNP lawyers yesterday demonstrated on the court premises demanding withdrawal of the cases.
Political tensions have been running high over the disappearance of Ilias Ali, an organising secretary of the BNP and a former lawmaker, and his driver Ansar Ali around midnight of April 17 from the capital's Banani area.
In protest, the BNP enforced three consecutive shutdowns from April 22-24 across the country and the BNP-led 18-party alliance enforced two similar lockdowns on April 29-30.
The hartal violence left five people dead and scores of vehicles damaged across the country.
Meanwhile, Sirajul Haque, former deputy minister for health, who was arrested on April 30, was also sent to jail yesterday after a Dhaka court rejected the petitions for his remand and bail.
Following Wednesday's bail drama, a third bench of the High Court yesterday granted anticipatory bail to Khokon till May 9.
On Wednesday, Justice Anwarul Haque granted anticipatory bail to Khokon for a week and directed him to surrender before the trial court within that time, while the junior judge of the bench, Justice Mojibur Rahman Miah, rejected the bail petition.
Following the dissenting orders, Chief Justice Md Muzammel Hossain yesterday sent the petition to the bench of Justice Musa Khaled, who passed the bail order.
Additional Attorney General MK Rahman opposed the bail petition.
BNP standing committee member Moudud Ahmed, also a counsel for Khokon, said his client would have to surrender before the trial court by May 9.
Earlier in the day, Moudud joined a human chain in front of the Jatiya Press Club where he alleged that the government was influencing the court not to allow bails to the opposition leaders.
He also criticised the government for deploying a large number of law enforcers in and around the court premises on Tuesday night.
“Security check posts have been set up at all the gates of the Supreme Court to bar the opposition leaders from seeking bail,” said Moudud.
The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President Zainul Abdin at a press briefing demanded that the government withdraw the additional police forces from the SC within 24 hours.
“Lawyers of the country will wage a tough movement against the government if the forces are not withdrawn from the premises within that time,” he warned.
He said the SC lawyers could not bring their clients to the court fearing their arrests.