As many as 431 people were presented before the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's Court in Dhaka on Wednesday, according to the court and police sources. The detainees were charged with sabotage, detonating bombs, obstructing law enforcement duty and so on.
Following the petition of the police, the court has granted remand for 310 among them arrested in 43 cases.
The law enforcement sources said the mass arrests were conducted due to the Tuesday rally called by Jatiya Oikya Front, the principle opposition alliance of the ruling party.
On 6 November, 170 people were presented before the court. The court directed to take 101 of them on remand, according to the court sources. On 5 November, 43 were taken to the court and 23 were taken on remand and earlier on 1 November, 80 were detained in 49 cases of whom 56 were taken on remand.
The families of the detainees crowded the CMM court area on Wednesday morning, trying to catch a glimpse of their loved ones. Many burst into tears seeing their family members in the vans being taken to the court detention cell as the vehicles started to arrive after 12:00pm.
"Is Mozammel there? Which police station is it?" Alamgir, a middle-aged man and the brother of a detainee from Trimohoni in Khilgaon, shouted at a moving prison van. The Khilgaon police station, on Tuesday, had shown Mozammel arrested in a sabotage case, Alamgir said.
From the beginning of November, it has been common to see such anxious persons, young and old, crowding the CMM compound. The crowd turns larger every day.
The largest crowd turned up on Wednesday.
Nine-month pregnant Nipa Begum from Fatulla, Narayanganj, was struggling in the crowd to see her husband who was arrested in a sabotage case with the Shyampur police station. She said her husband, a decorator shop worker, was not involved in politics. She has to bear all the expenses of the family, of childbirth and the lawyer's fees now.
Similarly, at least 10 other people, most of them poor, alleged their family members were arrested from the roads and later shown arrested in political cases.
Yarun Begum, one among them, was sobbing loudly before the CMM court main gate. She said, "The police have arrested my grandson. He is innocent. I went to the police station, but couldn't see him." Yarun came from Rupganj, Narayanganj. Tejgaon police arrested her grandson after he came to Dhaka with his friends on Tuesday, she said.
According to the case documents, Yarun's grandson Nasir was arrested under the Special Powers Act. A total of 41 people were arrested under the same act.
The police report submitted to the court stated that the detained ones chanted anti-government slogans and obstructed and vandalised vehicles.
Among all the arrested, 386 were detained at different police stations of Dhaka city and the rest were detained by the district police stations of Dhaka. Among the detained ones sent to the court, 41 were arrested in cases filed at Tejgaon police station, 38 at Paltan, 27 at Tejgaon industrial area, 24 at Hatirjheel, 16 at Motijheel, 16 at Mohammadpur, 13 at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar, 10 at Shahbagh, 15 at Shahjahanpur, 10 at Jatrabari, 10 at Dhanmondi.
The lawyers of the arrested persons told the court in their written documents that the law enforcers had arrested ordinary people to harass them and the detained ones were not involved in sabotage.
The police were deliberately harassing their clients and this was unjust, said Arfan Uddin Khan, one of the lawyers.