Police of Banani thana and Detective Branch (DB) have arrested 54 men of opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) from Banani Club in the capital.
All of the arrested were BNP leaders and activists of Sirajdikhan and Srinagar upazila of Munishiganj district.
They include Srinagar upazila parishad former chairman Momin Ali, Sripur upazila BNP general secretary Delwar Hossain and Sirajdikhan upazila BNP's former general secretary Awlad Ali. Momin Ali was a BNP nominated candidate in the last general election.
According to BNP sources, it was at the invitation of Momin Ali that around 50 or so BNP men from Sirajdikhan and Srinagar upazila went to Banani Club.
Momin Ali is a member of the club and regular goes there. On Sunday he had invited the BNP men there for dinner. Late night, at around 1:00 am, the police picked them up from there and took them to the police station. They were later taken to the DB office. In the morning the police filed charges against them under the Anti-Terrorism Act.
Officer-in-charge (OC) of the Banani police station, Mustafizur Rahman, speaking to Prothom Alo, said the BNP men had been secretly plotting against the state and so a case was filed against them under the Anti-Terrorism Act.
Police sources said that the case had been filed against 56 persons under this act, and two were shown as absconding.
Member secretary of Munishiganj district BNP, Kamruzzaman Ratan, told Prothom Alo, "We went there in keeping with the rules and regulations of the club. We were sitting in an open space and having dinner. Is there any scope to be secretly plotting against the state in such an open space?"
"This government has become a monster, arresting so many people with no reason, no case," he added.
Denouncing the arrest, Kamruzzaman Ratan demanded their immediate unconditional release of the opposition leaders and activists.