Imprisonment of 33 opposition leaders heightens tension in Bangladesh

A city bus is burning after the opposition activists set it on fire.

DHAKA – In  a  quickly  developed  political  tension  in  Bangladesh,   thirty-three key leaders of the  18-party opposition alliances were sent to Dhaka Central Jail on Wednesday  promting  another  spell of  violence  and  unrest  in  the country.

The  Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court  in  Dhaka  rejected their bail petitions in an arson attack case  after  they  surrendered  to  the  lower  court  in compliance  with  the High Court  order. 

Earlier  two  case were  filed  against  the alliance leaders  for torching a bus near the Prime Minister’s Office and  exploding  crude  bomb  inside  the Home Ministry  compound during general strike  on April 29. 
 
Opposition leaders  who were sent  to  jail  on  Wednesday included  BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakrul Islam Alamgir, standing committee members and  a former minister MK Anwar, Dr Khandakar Mosharraf Hossain, former Minister Brigadier General (retd) ASM Hannan Shah, former  minister Mirza Abbas, former  state Minister Goyeshwer Chandra Roy, ex-Mayor Sadeque Hossain Khoka, LDP chief and  former minister Colonel Oli Ahmed, BNP joint general secretary and  former  state minister Aman Ullah Aman, former msstate minister  Ruhul Kuddus Talukdar Dulu, former  member  of the parliament AKM Fazlul Haque Milon, Nazim Uddin Alam, and a sitting member  of  the parliament Shahid Uddin Chowdhury Annie.

Senior leaders of the opposition alliance are being taken to prison after the court rejected their bail prayers on Wednesday

The 18-party alliance after an instant emergency meeting called a daylong countrywide hartal for Thursday demanding the release of the leaders, safe return of missing BNP leader Ilias Ali and protesting police attacks on pro-BNP lawyers on court premises.
 
Many pro-BNP lawyers and BNP leaders and activists who thronged the court area lay down in front of the police vans carrying the opposition leaders to the jail and chanted anti-government slogans and demanded their release.

Meanwhile, at least 25 people were injured in a clash between pro-BNP lawyers and opposition activists and police in the court area following the court order.

Police said the clash erupted in the Metropolitan Magistrate Court area at about 2:15 pm when the lawyers and activists of opposition party tried to create chaos in the area.

At one stage, they locked into scuffles with the law enforcers and continued chanting anti-government slogans. Later, police charged batons on the demonstrators who retaliated with brickbats, leaving 25 people injured from both sides.

A chase and counter-chase took place during the clash, police said.

A policeman poses to beat the on duty journalist at Dhaka Court compound.

Security has been beefed up in and around the court premises to ward off any untoward incident. However, three public buses were set  ablaze  following the incident on  the  court compound.

Meanwhile, the 18-party alliance called a countrywide dawn-to-dusk general strike for Thursday demanding unconditional release of the senior leaders of BNP and its allies, including Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir,  who were sent to jail after their surrender to trial court seeking bails on Wednesday.

BNP standing committee member Nazrul Islam Khan announced the hartal program from an emergency press conference held at BNP’s Nayapaltan central office on Wednesday afternoon..

Nazrul termed the order of the court as ‘unexpected and frustrating for justice seekers.’  He said they are ‘surprised’ over the court order sending the top leaders to jail rejecting their bail petitions.

He said the government has filed the fabricated cases against the national leaders of the 18-party as part of a conspiracy to create a new issue to hush up the incident of ‘enforced’ disappearance of M Ilias Ali and divert people’s attention.

The BNP leader strongly condemned and protested the arrest of over 100 opposition leaders and workers since Tuesday.

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