Dhaka, Bangladesh
Tension runs high in city over Khaleda verdict

Tension runs high in city over Khaleda verdict

DMP takes precautionary measures

Amid the government's strong preparation to deal with any untoward situation and the ban on any gathering in the city on Thursday, BNP looks firm to stage a massive demonstration if their chairperson is 'unfairly' convicted, escalating tensions among city dwellers, including the SSC examinees and their guardians, reports UNB. However, BNP is unlikely to go for any violent programme like hartal and blockade even if Khaleda Zia is convicted apparently to avoid violence and not to lose public sympathy ahead of the next general election. At its national executive committee meeting on Saturday last, the party leaders and activists vowed to ensure the peaceful presence of huge number of their leaders and activists on the streets in Dhaka and other parts of the country to register their protest if any injustice is done to Khaleda Zia in the Zia Orphanage Trust Graft case. Party senior leaders said they will carefully try to avoid any violence and they have asked their party men not to respond to any provocation by ruling party men and law enforcers. Awami League senior leaders said they will remain alert on the day so that their main rival party activists cannot create any anarchic situation over the court verdict. As political tension runs high, police are also making various plans and taking various steps to fend off any trouble if the BNP chief is convicted. As part of the steps, the Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) on Tuesday imposed a ban on holding any procession and carrying sharp weapons, explosives, flammable materials in the capital on Thursday. Police officials at a meeting, led by new IGP Mohammad Javed Patwary, last week decided not to allow BNP members to stand on the streets on the day. A huge number of police will be deployed in and around the special court areas and all the entry points of the city. Meanwhile, the movement of vehicles will be restricted to prevent BNP leaders and activists from gathering at any point to stage demonstrations. The police headquarters also sent a letter to the superintendents of police across the country alerting them of possible emerging situations on Thursday and giving them necessary directions to deal with those effectively. In the letter, the police headquarters said miscreants may try to create an anarchic situation by taking position in large number in Dhaka and other big cities and towns, circulate misleading information on the social media, and attack law enforcers, public transport and important government establishments. To face the possible situations, the police authorities also mentioned some directions, including intensifying security at important and strategic points, all the tahans and offices of police and other key public establishments, setting up check posts, keeping all the CCTV under police watch in operation, identifying possible vulnerable spots, strengthening intelligence agencies' activities, increasing the number of police in patrol teams, taking steps to capture the photos of trouble makers, collecting photographs of untoward incidents from journalists and mobilising public opinions about violent acts. Besides, the IGP held a meeting with the chiefs of different police units across the country through videoconferencing on Tuesday afternoon and gave them necessary directions to maintain law and order on February 8. DMP deputy commissioner (media) Masudur Rahman said adequate plainclothes police and members of different intelligence agencies will be there at the city's different strategic points alongside the several thousand regular police members so that no one can break the law. "We'll take lawful action if any one tires to create any trouble." Meanwhile, Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader said their party has no political programme on Thursday as they do not want to engage in violence. "We don't want to fall into any trap of provocation by BNP. We want the peace to prevail." An Awami League Presidium member, requesting anonymity, said their party members will be there on the streets alongside the police to resist the BNP's anarchic activities, if any. BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia is likely to hold a press conference on Wednesday, just a day before a special court is set to deliver verdict in her a graft case. Later at night, she will hold a meeting with her party's standing committee members and finalise the party's future movement and election strategy. BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said their party leaders and activists together with people can register their protest in a peaceful manner if their chairperson is "unlawfully" convicted in a "false" case. He said they are aware of the government's various evil plans and already instructed their party men not to respond to any provocation of the ruling party activists and police. A BNP senior leader wishing anonymity said they asked their party members to take position around the makeshift special court set up in Dhaka's Bakshibazar area on the day, defying all the obstacles in order to stage a big demonstration if Khaleda is convicted. He said they will prefer getting arrested than getting involved in any clash if law enforcers obstruct them from registering their protest. BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi denounced the DMP's ban of public gathering on Thursday, calling it an unfair act in the name of law. "People will definitely go for registering their protest. We'll do it in a democratic manner." BSS adds: Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) has banned procession and carrying sticks, sharp weapons, explosives and flammable materials in Dhaka to avoid any untoward incidents ahead of the verdict in the Zia Orphanage Trust Corruption case on February 8. The ban will be effective from 4am on February 8 until further notice, according to a statement of DMP Commissioner Asaduzzaman Miah here today. He said he had imposed the ban "under the power vested upon me by sections 28 and 29 of Dhaka Metropolitan Police Ordinance (ordinance no-111/76) with a view to maintaining law and order and ensuring security to public safety." The DMP chief also said, "It has been learnt from intelligence information and sources of print, electronic and social media that some people or groups may try to disrupt the public security and order by creating anarchy centering a verdict in an under-trial case on February 8." He sought cooperation from all to maintain peace and order and public security in Dhaka metropolitan area.

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