21,835 BNP men detained since Oct 28
Bangladesh Jatiotabadi Ainjibi Forum (BJAF), a body of pro-BNP lawyers, yesterday alleged that the "unelected" government has illegally detained 21,835 BNP men since October 28 to foil the party's movement for restoring democracy and people's right to vote.
A total of 1,249 BNP leaders and activists have been sentenced to different terms of imprisonment in connection with 79 cases over the last 14 weeks, BJAF Secretary General Kayser Kamal said in a written statement during a press conference.
The press conference was arranged at Supreme Court Bar Association to protest a statement made by Awami League leader and Agriculture Minister Abdur Razzaque in an interview.
During an interview with a private TV channel, Razzaque said BNP leaders who were in jail were offered release if they participated in the January 7 national election. However, BNP did not accept the proposal, he added.
"Had the 20,000 BNP leaders and activists not been arrested, would you have seen the cars that are plying the streets today amid hartal? We had no other alternatives. Whatever we did, we did thoughtfully," said Razzaque in the interview.
Kayser Kamal, also BNP's legal affairs secretary, told the press conference that the statement of Razzaque was confessional, as it indicates that the "fascist" government is making the constitutional institutions compliant to it.