A large number of leaders and activists of the major opposition BNP are now on the run across the country, including in Dhaka city, to escape arrests following the clashes that took place in the last one month centring the party’s nationwide programmes on different issues.
BNP insiders said the party’s leaders and activists, especially the senior leaders, are afraid of reviving their cases and cancellation of their bail in previous cases ahead of their all-out movement before the next general election.
He alleged that seeing huge presence of common people in their programmes, the ruling party men are creating obstruction to their programmes through carrying out attacks.
According to BNP, three party men were killed and several hundred leaders and activists were injured in clashes with the ruling Awami League men and law enforcers across the country in the last one month. At the same time, over 52 cases were filed against around 30,000 party men.
BNP at a press conference on September 16 announced that the party would hold demonstration across the country, including in Dhaka city, on September 18 in protest against what the party alleged attack on their men across the country, including in Mirpur of the capital, by the Awami League men.
“They [Awami League] are carrying out attack to remove the opposition from the field. And police personnel are directly cooperating with them in this regard,” BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said at a press conference at the party chairperson’s Gulshan office on Friday.
At least 100 BNP leaders and activists were injured during a series of clashes with Awami League men on Thursday in the capital’s Mirpur area over holding a rally there. Earlier on September 10, BNP announced holding public rallies in 16 spots under its Dhaka south and north city units until September 28 in protest against the increase in prices of essentials, fuel and transport fares.
BNP sources said after the demonstration programmes, the party will announce its next course of action and intensify their movement to take it to a nationwide one to realise their demands for holding the next general election under a non-party election-time government.
BNP sources said its senior leaders are claiming that they will continue the programmes in phases, but it has become difficult to continue the programmes for the party activists as a large number of leaders and activists from grassroots to central are now on the run to escape arrest and cases.
“It is too early to take to the streets as the next parliamentary election is far away. Many of our leaders proposed carrying out short-time strong movement just before polls to oust the government but some others oppose it,” a central BNP leader told the Daily Sun wishing not to be named.
In this situation, another leader said if many leaders and activists are arrested and imprisoned now, then the movement may fail again to achieve the party’s target.
At a press conference on September 13, Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said the outline of the 'simultaneous' movement to oust the government will be presented soon. "We'll come up before the nation with the final outline of the simultaneous movement as soon as possible," he said.
Talking to the Daily Sun, few central leaders of BNP said prior to beginning of their demonstration programmes, they realised that the party men will face government’s actions like filing cases against their party men and their arrest by police and attacks by ruling party men.
“But our party is rigid in its decision to continue the ongoing movement and to intensify it gradually despite the obstructions,” a central leader told the Daily Sun.
BNP office claimed that 52 cases were filed against the party leaders and activists accusing over 5,500 party men, including its vice-chairman Abdul Awal Mintoo, joint secretary general Mahbub Uddin Khokon and 23,150 unnamed men during their demonstration programmes from August 22 to September 10.
Some 284 party men were arrested, three killed and 2,668 were injured in clashes with police and ruling party men during the time. At the same time, several thousand leaders and activists were made accused in cases in around 50 organising districts in the country, sources added.
At a press conference, Mirza Fakhrul claimed that so far three BNP men were killed, over 2,000 activists were injured and over 200 were arrested from August 22 to September 1 across the country. Cases were filed against more than 4,000 named and about 20,000 unnamed persons.