Fresh 72-hr opposition blockade from today

November 30, 2013

Cancel polls schedule, create scope for talks: BNP
The BNP-led 18-party alliance will enforce a fresh spell of nationwide 72-hour road-rail-waterway blockade from 6am Saturday. The opposition alliance is enforcing the programme just 25 hours after the ending of a 71-hour blockade that witnessed widespread violence across the country leaving 18 people killed and over 1,200 injured. BNP Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi announced the fresh programme at a press briefing at the party’s Nayapaltan central office on Friday night, protesting the schedule for the 10th parliamentary election and filing of ‘false’ cases against opposition leaders and activists.
Rizvi said the blockade will start at 6am on Saturday and end at 6am Tuesday.
Earlier, the Acting Secretary General of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, asked the Election Commission (EC) to withdraw the schedule it has announced for the 10th parliamentary polls in order to accelerate the process of dialogue for resolving the crisis over the poll-time administration.
“The EC has announced the schedule for the 10th parliamentary polls, ignoring the opinion of the people and the local and international communities. The poll schedule should be postponed, upholding the people’s demand for elections under a non-party poll-time management,” Fakhrul said.
He was talking to reporters after a Namaj-e-Janaza, held in front of the party’s central office in the capital after Jum’a prayers, seeking eternal peace of the departed souls who were allegedly killed during the government-sponsored crackdown during the opposition alliance’s 71-hour countrywide blockade last week.
The opposition spokesperson said the people of the country are bursting into
rebellion over the demand to hold the next general elections under a non-partisan administration. But the government is moving towards holding lopsided polls under a partisan government, he alleged.
“Please build a bridge to create a congenial atmosphere for dialogue in the greater interest of an impartial and inclusive general election,” he said, pointing fingers at the government and the EC.
BNP leaders Fazlur Rahman Patal, Mahbub Uddin Khokan, Sanaullah Mia, Masud Ahmed Talukdar and others, including leaders of the 18-Party Alliance, took part in the Namaj-e-Janaza.
Earlier in the day, Rizvi announced at a press conference that the 18-Party Alliance would stage demonstrations across the country, including the capital Dhaka, on Saturday, demanding that the poll schedule for the 10th Parliamentary elections be immediately withdrawn.
As per this schedule, the protest rallies will be held in all cities and district-level towns across the country as well as at Suhrawardy Udyan in the capital at about 3pm on Saturday, said Rizvi, who is also the office secretary of the BNP.
Party insiders said the fresh blockade programme was announced as the opposition alliance did not get permission for holding the rally at Suhrawardy Udyan.
At another discussion meeting, Opposition Chief Whip Zainul Abdin Farroque alleged that the government is killing people, setting them ablaze, to divert the general public’s attention from the Opposition’s antigovernment movement for elections under a non-partisan administration. The discussion meeting was organised to demand the withdrawal of the poll schedule and was organised by a pro-BNP organisation at the National Press Club on Friday.
At a separate programme, BNP standing committee member Mahbubur Rahman accused the government of playing a game of hide-and-seek under the pretext of holding a dialogue.
He was addressing a discussion at the National Press Club on Friday
afternoon.

-With The Independent input

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