Around 8,000 BNP leaders-activists arrested in 8 days

BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir is being taken to jail from court on 29 October
Dipu Malakar

At least 7,835 leaders and activists of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) have been arrested in eight days between 28 October and Saturday throughout the country. Of the arrested leaders, more than seven are top leaders including secretary general and over fifty influential leaders of city and district units including former lawmakers.

BNP sources said most of the leaders of the party’s central and district units went into hiding since the police started a stringent operation to nab the party leaders following violence in the party’s grand rally in Dhaka on 28 October.

Courts and Prothom Alo correspondents said a total of 112 BNP leaders-activists were arrested in Dhaka and three other districts between Friday night and Saturday. Of them, 70 were in Dhaka, 39 in Narayanganj, one in Feni and 2 in Jamalpur.

Around 2239 BNP leaders and activists were arrested in Dhaka city in the last eight days and over 5 thousand outside Dhaka. Most of them were arrested in cases filed over violence centering the BNP rally on 28 October, murder of a policeman, vandalising police vehicles and arson.

7 Influential leaders on remand

On 29 October, the day after the BNP's grant rally was foiled, the police arrested the party's general secretary Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir. Later, BNP standing committee members Mirza Abbas and Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury, joint secretaries general Syed Moazzem Hossain Alal, Khairul Kabir Khokon and Mojibur Rahman Sarwar, media cell convener Zahir Uddin Swapan, Dhaka city north BNP member secretary Aminul Haque and Emran Saleh (Prince) were arrested in Dhaka.

Of them, Mirza Abbas, Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury, Moazzem Hossain and Aminul Haque are in police custody on remand. Court granted five to six days of remand for them.

A source of police said  Amir Khasru, Moazzem Hossain, Zahir Uddin Swapan and Aminul have been placed on remand in the case filed over the killing of a policeman. None of them confessed to their crimes. Mirza Abbas has been remanded in a case filed over attack on police in Shahjahanpur, vandalism and arms loot. He would later be shown arrested in a police killing case. Separate remand would be sought for him in this case too if required.

Mirza Abbas on Wednesday told the court during the hearing that an effort to exterminate BNP leadership is going on.

5597 arrested outside Dhaka

According to reports sent by Prothom Alo correspondents around the country, a total of 5,597 BNP leaders-activists were arrested outside Dhaka city from 28 October to 4 November. Among them, 450 people were arrested in Jashore, 310 in Chattogram, 267 in Narayanganj, 238 in Sirajganj, 220 in Jhenaidah and 204 in Naogaon and 175 in Noakhali.

A prison van transporting BNP leaders to jail from CMM Court in Dhaka
File photo

Around 150 each were arrested in Dinajpur, Khulna, Gazipur, Rajshahi, Mymensingh, Tangail, Netrokona, Pabna, Kishoreganj and Narsingdi.
Over 100 each were arrested in Pirojpur, Patuakhali, Chuandanga, Satkhira, Faridpur, Brahmanbaria, Chapainawabganj and Bagura. Over 70 were arrested each in Natore, Joypurhat, Sherpur and Jamalpur.

Among the leaders arrested at the district level are three former BNP lawmakers in Kushtia and the party's district unit president, general secretary and senior vice president Syed Mehedi Ahmed (Rumi), Sohrab Uddin and Reza Ahmed Bacchu Molla respectively.

In Barishal, BNP central committee’s organising secretary Bilkis Akter Jahan, city unit’s convener Moniruzzaman Khan and district south unit’s convener and former lawmaker Abul Hossain Khan were arrested.

Moreover, Kishoreganj district BNP president Md Shariful Alam, Rangpur city BNP convenerg Shamsuzzaman and member secretary Mahfuz Un-Nabi, Gaibandha district BNP secretary Mahmudun Nabi, Dinajpur district BNP president Mofazzal Hossain, Khulna district BNP convener Amir Ejaj Khan, Narail district BNP secretary Monirul Islam, Faridpur city BNP convener AFM Quaiyum and Pabna district BNP member secretary Masum Khandakar, and many other important grassroots leaders were arrested.

Sources from law enforcers said the raid would continue and those who are accused in cases would be brought to book.

Meanwhile, the BNP leaders have gone into hiding to evade arrest.

BNP’s senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi has been announcing the party programme virtually from an unknown place.

In his virtual press briefing yesterday, Rizvi alleged that the government has launched an en masse arrest spree of BNP leaders from all levels.