Ex-dy speaker Siddiqui held
The Detective Branch (DB) police in Naogaon arrested former deputy speaker and BNP leader Akhtar Hamid Siddiqui from Mohadevpur upazila yesterday evening under the Special Powers Act (SPA) for making 'seditious statements'.
“He has primarily been arrested under the SPA for making anti-state statements and threatening the police”, Mofazzel Hossain, Superintendent of Police (SP) in Naogaon, said.
The SP told The Daily Star that government high ups were apprised of the situation before the arrest was made, and the police have also written to the home ministry for permission to press sedition charges against Siddiqui.
Ilyas Fakir, the officer-in-charge (OC) of Mohadebpur police station, filed a general diary (GD) on Thursday night accusing the BNP leader of threatening him with 'dire consequences' and of making statements subversive to the government and the state.
Siddiqui's statements suggest he might have known something about the BDR mutiny, the OC said.
“There are a series of charges against him including cheating, extortion, abuse of power and land grabbing,” the OC added.
The police have appealed to the government to take the accused under one-month's detention.
Earlier in the general diary filed, the OC alleged that Siddiqui made statements subversive to the state before him and Sub-Inspector Habib after calling them to his house in the evening.
“Do as I say, if you do anything against me, we will besiege your police station and damage it. You will not be able to resist us even with the help of your reserve force,” the OC quoted Siddiqui as saying while threatening him.
“You are brokering for Awami League (AL). But listen, the AL government will fall within two months and several hundred leaders and workers will be killed," Siddiqui was also quoted as saying.
Siddiqui also said that the army brought Awami League to power and asked the police to collect a CD on Pilkhana BDR mutiny available in the market, and see it.
The OC in his GD said Siddiqui was among those involved in subversive activities and by uttering the statements, he had threatened the very existence of the state, government and government institutions.
The threat was now also on the common people, the police, his (the OC's) life and the life of his family, the OC mentioned in his GD.
Witnesses said, a number of plainclothes police were seen on duty in front of Siddiqui's Uttargram home from the morning. At around 12pm, a large number of policemen from Naogaon Police Line led by DB police cordoned the house.
Later, at around 5.30pm, the DB police arrested Siddiqui and took him to the office of the Superintendent of Police (SP) in Naogaon town in a police pickup van, witnesses said.
Siddiqui however denied any wrongdoing. Before he was arrested, he told local journalists that the OC was trying to tarnish his own and BNP's image by 'a wrong interpretation' of his statement.
BNP CRITCISES ARREST
BNP yesterday strongly criticised the government for arresting former deputy speaker Akhtar Hamid Siddiqui.
Terming the case filed against Siddiqui false and fabricated, the BNP Secretary General Khandaker Delwar Hossain demanded that the government withdraw the case against Siddiqui and release him immediately.
"Arrest of the former deputy speaker (Akhtar Hamid) is an extreme autocratic conduct of the government," Delwar said in a press release, adding that 'the arrest is an evidence of the government's repression of opposition leaders and activists."
"People will not tolerate such heinous actions as the arrest of a respectable person like Siddiqui," the statement said.
"People will reply duly if the government does not shun the path of repression and behave democratically," Delwar warned in the statement.