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A rally of Bangladesh Nationalist Party has been foiled in front of the National Press Club in Dhaka after police charged baton on the party activists.

Several hundred leaders and activists of BNP have been demonstrating since Saturday morning protesting against the decision to revoke the gallantry award title 'Bir Uttam' the state conferred on the party founder and former president Ziaur Rahman.

BNP’s Dhaka city south and north units organised the protest rally.

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Water cannon and additional police forces were deployed in the area since the morning centring BNP’s rally. Roads in the National Press Club and its adjacent areas were blocked. Movement of people was also restricted.

At the rally, BNP activists chanted slogans protesting against the decision to revoke the state title conferred on Ziaur Rahman.

At one stage, clashes broke out between police and BNP activists. Police began charging batons on the leaders and activists of BNP around 12:15 pm. The protesters also pelted brick chips at police.

Central and city leaders of the party including Gayeshwar Chandra Roy, Amanullah Aman and Ishraque Hossain were present at the protest rally.

Earlier on 9 February, the national platform of freedom fighters, Jatiya Muktijoddha Council (JAMUKA) decided to revoke the gallantry title ‘Bir Uttam’ awarded by the state to Ziaur Rahman when the country is set to celebrate golden jubilee of the Liberation War this year. Bir Uttam is the second highest award in Bangladesh for individual gallantry.

It has also proposed to revoke the gallantry titles awarded to self-confessed killers of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman -- Shariful Haque Dalim, Nur Chowdhury, Rashed Chowdhury and Mosleh Uddin.

In its 72nd meeting on 9 February, JAMUKA decided that the above mentioned five people and their families won’t get any of the state facilities given to the freedom fighters for their contributions in the Liberation War.

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