Panicked tourists leaving Cox's Bazar

Staff Correspondent . Cox's Bazar | Update:

TouristTourist town of Cox's Bazar is not free from tensions created out of the verdict in graft case against BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia to be delivered on Thursday.

Many tourists, hotel owners say, are leaving Cox's Bazar cutting short their tours as the law enforcers have detained many people and set up check posts here and there.

The number of tourists is likely to come down to 3,000 or so by Wednesdy night, from 30,000-40,000 tourists generally available during this period of the year.

Amid mounting tensions between the ruling and opposition camps in Cox's Bazar as well, twenty per cent of the advanced booking for 50 per cent rooms that are mostly occupied at hotels and motels has already been cancelled, hotel authorities pointed out.

"I am returning to Dhaka shortening my planned stay here as the political situation may deteriorate anytime," Habibur Rahman, hailing from Dhaka's Uttara area, told Prothom Alo on Tuesday.

The businessman came to Cox's Bazar on Sunday accompanying his mother, wife and two sons.

The family had also a plan to go to St. Martin's Island on Wednesday and to return Dhaka on Saturday.

A Dhaka court fixed 8 February to deliver verdict in Zia Orphanage Trust graft case against former prime minister Khaleda Zia, her elder son and BNP senior vice chairman Tarique Rahman and four others.

Cox's Bazar, the tourist sport that has a long beach, attracts the highest number of tourists between December and March, according to Cox's Bazar Cottage Owners' Association president Kazi Rasel Ahmed.

He said the tourists are leaving Cox's Bazar fearing euption of violence over the verdict.

However, additional superintendent of Cox's Bazar tourist police Raihan Kazemy said the police personnel are ready to provide security to tourists from home and abroad.

Former member of parliament of Cox's Bazar and the BNP's central leader Lutfar Rahman said the opposition party will observe a peaceful programme in Cox's Bazar.

But, he allleged, the police are arresting BNP leaders and activists without any provocation.

District unit AL general secretary Mujibur Rahman said nobody will be allowed to create chaos over the verdict in the graft case against Khaleda Zia.

"Awmi League leaders and activists will take to the street from morning till evening on the verdict day," Mujibur Rahman told Prothom Alo.

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