Police to play party spoiler on New Year’s eve

December 31, 2013

Residents of Dhaka will have to forgo wild parties to ring in the New Year at midnight on Tuesday. But they can take cheer from the fact that they will be more secure inside their homes, or so feel the police in the capital city. The Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) on Monday issued a directive banning any gathering, including parties, across the city on 31st night. The move has been taken “to avoid any disorder” in view of the prevailing situation in Dhaka ahead of the general election on January 5, Police Commissioner Benzir Ahmed told media persons at the DMP headquarters on Minto Road. Sources said the government and police brass were apprehensive of subversive activities on New Year’s Eve. The sources added that the Intelligence Branch (IB) had recently submitted a report to the government, warning that a certain quarter may carry out terror attacks and bombings to destabilise law and order ahead of the poll.
“Taking advantage of the 31 night celebrations, a quarter with vested interests may cause subversive activities in the capital,” the IB report said. In such a situation, the IB recommended to the government, as well as home ministry, to take extra security measures at all public gathering places in the capital.
At the same time, the branch also suggested that law enforcement agencies closely watch all possible gathering places including diplomatic-zone, Gulshan, Banani-Baridhara, Dhanmondi, Tejgaon-Gulshan Link road, Dhanmondi, Sangshad Bhaban area, Dhaka University and Ashulia area.
Besides, the law enforcers continued massive raids on all suspected hideouts, including slums, drug spots and residential hotels. Simultaneously, security measures were beefed up in the city’s diplomatic zones – Gulshan, Banani and Baridhara – to avoid possible subversive activities.
In the meantime, security was also intensified in the city’s key areas and entry and exit points, including Kamalapur railway station, Sadarghat launch terminal, Gabtali, Saidabad, Mohakhali and Gulistan bus terminals, secretariat, foreign ministry, Minto Road and High Court areas.
A large number of CCTVs and check-posts will be set up at different strategic points in the capital. Policemen in plainclothes and RAB personnel will also guard important points all over the country to avoid any untoward incident.
Alongside the law-enforcers, several mobile courts and 5,000 RAB members will keep vigil in the city’s different corners, especially Gulshan and Baridhara diplomatic enclaves, and Dhaka University and its adjoining areas.
Police sources said roadside bars would shut down at 6 pm on Tuesday. No outsiders and their vehicles will be allowed to enter Dhaka University campus from 4 pm on Tuesday.
In this regard, the DMP Commissioner said that law enforcement agencies have made preparations to ensure smooth celebration of 31st night. He also requested the city dwellers to return home by 7 pm and drive their vehicles safely.
Ahmed also requested the city residents to help law enforcers maintain law and order during the time of New Year celebrations. He also urged residents to park their vehicles in the respective parking areas.
The Opposition BNP has announced that it would continue its agitation till January 5 to press their demand for poll under a caretaker government. The face-off between the two main political parties and the resultant violence are spreading panic throughout the capital.
Asked about the police inaction during Sunday’s attack by Awami League activists on pro-BNP journalists at the National Press Club, the DMP commissioner said, “The Press Club is no more a place for working journalists; rather it has now turned into a shelter for a group of people who use religion for politics.”

-With The Independent input

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