No plan to call off blockade
The countrywide non-stop blockade would continue until the BNP-led 20-party alliance decides otherwise, but party insiders say that the blockade could be relaxed for several hours for the Akheri Munajat of Biswa Ijtema.
Talking to a select group of reporters, BNP Joint Secretary General Rizvi Ahmed yesterday said the nonstop blockade would continue until further announcement. He said this at an unspecified house in Gulshan, hours after he sneaked out of Apollo Hospital Tuesday night.
Party insiders said blockade might be relaxed for several hours on the third and final day of Biswa Ijtema of Tablig Jamaat at Tongi. The Ijtema starts tomorrow.
They said vehicles carrying people to the Ijtema might be exempted from the blockade.
The ruling Awami League yesterday urged the BNP to withdraw the blockade considering the Ijtema.
Mahabubul Alam Hanif, AL joint general secretary, made the appeal while talking to reporters at Suhrawardi Udyan in the afternoon. He, however, said every measure would be taken to make sure the Ijtema was not hampered if the 20-party alliance went ahead with its blockade.
Having failed to come out of her office Monday afternoon to join a scheduled rally of 20-party alliance in front of BNP's Nayapaltan office to mark “Democracy Killing Day”, BNP chief Khaleda Zia had called for the blockade from Tuesday.
The BNP chairperson remained inside her Gulshan office for the fifth day yesterday and law enforcers in huge numbers were seen deployed in front of the office main gate.
Water cannons, police vans and trucks were parked on both ends of the street in front of her office. The sand-laden trucks were removed from the main gate.
Road-86 of Gulshan-2, where her office is, was made off-limits to traffic and public.
She could not appear before a court yesterday in connection with two graft cases filed against her, according to her lawyers.
Several female leaders of the BNP yesterday morning managed to get out of Khaleda's Gulshan office.
Her security personnel were being allowed to enter the office.
A six-member delegation of University Teachers Association of Bangladesh, led by Prof AFM Yusuf Haider, also visited Khaleda yesterday. Senior journalist Mahfuz Ullah also visited her.
Talking to reporters outside Khaleda's office, Prof Yusuf said they were very worried about the BNP chief's health as the police had used pepper spray while she was talking to reporters on Monday at the gate of her office.
Sirajuddin Ahmed, of the Orthopaedics Department of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, also visited her.
Rizvi Ahmed, who was picked up by plainclothes police at the BNP's Nayapaltan office and then admitted to Apollo Hospital in the city on Saturday night against his will, left the hospital dodging police early yesterday.
Preferring anonymity, one of Rizvi's assistants told The Daily Star that he left the hospital around 3:30am and was now safe. He, however, refused to give Rizvi's whereabouts.
Talking to the reporters at the undisclosed location, Rizvi alleged that the government as part of its “evil intentions to kill Khaleda sprayed poisonous pepper spray on her” on Monday.
He called upon people to build strong resistance against the current “repressive” government.
Rizvi also condemned and protested the arrest of BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir and demanded the government release him immediately.
Rizvi himself had cleared all his medical bills for his four-day stay at the hospital. The bill was within five digits, Mofizul Islam, duty office of the hospital told The Daily Star.