All seven lawmakers representing the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) announced en masse resignation from the Parliament on Saturday as their party held a grand rally in the capital on the eventful day. A huge number of the BNP leaders and activists already gathered at the Golapbagh ground in Sayedabad since the previous day soon after obtaining confirmation of rally venue in the wee hours to make the much-talked-about December 10 rally a grand success. BNP got the approval of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) and Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC), among others, on the condition that it’ll take responsibility if there is any structural damage to the venue during the rally. BNP is finally joining this much-anticipated rally today after several rounds of debates, protests, concerns and clashes as well as the high-profile arrests of several top leaders of the party in the last few days. Instead of the road in front of the Nayapaltan central office, the rally is being held at long last at this newly designated venue. Earlier, there has been unrest and uncertainty in the country shrouding the BNP’s planned December 10 public rally in Nayapaltan. The political arena of the country became restive following arguments and debates, counter-political programmes and rallies, as well as counter-statements.
You Can Also Read: 7 BNP LAWMAKERS ANNOUNCE RESIGNATION FROM PARLIAMENT AT DHAKA RALLY
Dateline 10th December! This is what has been in widely used headlines in the media outlets over the course of past few months. People kept on wondering, what will happen that day? What announcement will BNP come up with? What are the BNP demands? Where will the rally be held finally? Will the gathering be peaceful or violent? What will be the role of the ruling party? The government said that the BNP will be allowed to hold a rally at Suhrawardy Udyan, but BNP was adamant to hold the rally in front of the party office in Nayapaltan, which was ultimately agreed upon at Golapbagh ground. For wider interest of our faithful audience, we’ll now have a look at the events and happenings running upto this rally.
It all started on September 28, when BNP declared to hold mass gatherings across the country, including the capital city, to protest against, what the party alleged, the rise in prices of fuel and daily necessities, killing of several BNP leaders and activists, false cases against the leaders and release of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia. BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir announced this programme at a press event organized at the office of the party’s chairperson on September 28. BNP Secretary General said this decision was taken in the party’s standing committee meeting on September 26. He said, “The rally will start with Chattogram division on October 8. The last one will be held on December 10 in capital Dhaka.”
Arguments ensued with debate started following a fiery statement by BNP’s Dhaka North Convener Amanullah Aman. He on October 8 said that from the country will run by the words of BNP Supremo Begum Khaleda Zia from December 10. Addressing the activists, he said, “Get ready, the programme is coming; Kanchpur, Tongi Bridge, Mawa Road, Aricha Road, Teknaf to Tentulia, Rupsa to Pathuria – all of Bangladesh will be closed. After December 10, Bangladesh will continue according to the words of Khaleda Zia and Tareque Rahman.” After that, various debates started. Later, the situation calmed down a bit, when BNP said the party will only hold a rally in Dhaka, there is no sit-in programme or any other plan. However, the heat did not go away fully. Although the ruling party did not announce a counter-programme on that day, it is said that the Awami League leaders and activists will be on alert in every ward and entryway of Dhaka.
BNP successively held mass meetings in different parts of the country. Tensions were rising around those gatherings. According to the pre-announced programme, the Chattogram divisional mass meeting of BNP was held ‘smoothly’ on October 12 at the railway polo ground in Chattogram. A large number of BNP activists attended the rally there.
- BNP complained that police and Awami League, Jubo League, Shwechchhasebak League and Chhatra League leaders and activists blocked and attacked the road and highway on the way to the rally.
- There were also accusations of vandalizing cars on the highway and turning the leaders and activists back.
A bus strike on the Mymensingh route, including internal routes, took place before the divisional rally of BNP there. Common passengers suffered due to the suspension of bus services.
Divisional assembly of BNP was held at Polytechnic ground in Mymensingh city.
District bus owners and labour union leaders decided to keep all bus services in Khulna stopped on the eve of BNP’s divisional rally.
On the day of the rally, there was a clash between police and BNP leaders and workers in Khulna railway station area. During that clash, the railway station was sabotaged. Leaders and workers of Awami League and Jubo League took positions at different corners of the city later.
Also, the BNP office was set on fire at around 2pm. However, it was not known who set the fire.
Even before the Rangpur divisional rally, the bus service on that route was stopped. BNP leaders and activists joined the rally in different ways.
Awami League also came to the field to prove their public support and organizational strength by holding banners on various roads and buildings in Barishal centring BNP’s divisional mass meeting. There were clashes in several places on this day.
Ahead of the public meeting in Barishal, the police conducted house-to-house searches of the leaders and workers of BNP and its affiliates in Barguna a few days ago. The police said the houses of BNP leaders and activists were searched as part of an operation to avoid chaos.
BNP leader Ishraque Hossain and some leaders’ convoy was attacked while on way to the Barishal rally. BNP alleged that several leaders and activists were injured and several vehicles in the convoy were vandalized.
BNP seeks permission to hold rally in Faridpur’s Govt Rajendra College ground. However, the administration informed that it is not possible to give permission to hold a rally at that place.
At least 30 people including the police were injured in a clash between BNP leaders and activists in Kishoreganj. At that time, the police fired rubber bullets and shotgun blanks to bring the situation under control.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal announced that the administration will resist if BNP activists try to block the roads in the name of rally.
- BNP leader Amanullah Aman reportedly took an oath of the leaders and workers to be ‘ready for death’.
BNP held a meeting with Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Commissioner Khandkar Golam Farooq’s office on December 10 – demanding to hold Dhaka’s divisional rally in front of their Nayapaltan office.
Police clashed with BNP leaders and workers in Habiganj. 50 leaders and workers of BNP including the police were injured.
Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud said the BNP wants to hold a rally on the streets of Nayapaltan with the intention of creating chaos in the capital.
BNP gets permission to hold public meeting in Cumilla under 10 conditions.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan informed about allowing BNP to hold rally at Suhrawardy Udyan, instead of Nayapaltan, in the capital.
The central conference of Awami League’s affiliate body Bangladesh Chhatra League was brought forward by two days to allow BNP a smooth rally at Suhrawardy Udyan and to avoid clashes.
Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader said, “If BNP creates a violent situation, brings fire and sticks, if they want to play then the game will be play, it will be shown to them what the game is.”
If the BNP gathers in front of their office in Nayapaltan on December 10 without complying with the police ban, then the police will take necessary measures in this regard, said the Home Minister.
- A cocktail explosion took place in front of the BNP central office in Nayapaltan.
BNP leaders and activists clashed with the police in Kishoreganj. 10 people including 4 policemen were injured.
Police and BNP leaders and activists locked in clashes in Nayapaltan during which one person was killed. The leaders and workers of the party started gathering in front of the BNP office. At one stage, the gathering became so large that one side of the road was about to be blocked. When the police tried to remove them, a chase started between the two sides. At one stage of the clash, the police fired shotgun blanks and tear gas shells. Many people were injured in this incident. BNP’s several leaders were detained by the police during the melee.
- Also, a police team raided the BNP central office in Nayapaltan around 4:30pm.
- The police stopped BNP secretary general from entering the party office. After about 20 minutes, the police allowed him to enter the office. But, Fakhrul Islam Alamgir sat down in front of the BNP office.
- Police arrested BNP leaders Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, Shaheed Uddin Chowdhury Anny and Shimul Biswas from in front of the party office around 4:30pm.
- In the evening, BNP leaders Amanullah Aman, Abdus Salam and Khairul Kabir Khokon were arrested by the police.
The BNP leaders and activists who were arrested from Nayapalton were brought to the CMM court in Dhaka in a prison van after 12 noon.
- BNP and pro-Awami lawyers raised slogans in front of the main gate of CMM court in Dhaka. A large number of members of law and order forces took up position in the court to ensure security.
- The United Nations made a statement that it was monitoring the situation in Bangladesh, the US ambassador called for the protection of the right to rally.
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir and the party’s standing committee member Mirza Abbas were arrested by the police.
- Fakhrul Islam Alamgir and Mirza Abbas were taken to court after being arrested in the case of planning and incitement to attack the police. Later the court ordered to send them to jail.
- In the evening, a delegation of BNP went to meet DMP Commissioner Khandkar Golam Farooq.
- Acting Office Secretary of BNP Syed Imran Saleh Prince applied to the Dhaka South City Corporation for permission to use Golapbagh playground for conducting Dhaka’s rally.
- DMP allowed BNP to hold a mass rally at Golapbagh ground on December 10.
All BNP lawmakers have announced their resignation from the National Parliament. The party has announced mass procession across country on December 13 and 24.
It also announced a 10-point ‘Charter of Demands’ that included:
- The caretaker government must form a neutral Election Commission, which will ensure a level-playing field for all parties; the use of EVMs and party symbols in local government elections will be annulled.
- Convictions of all the opposition leaders and activists, including Khaleda Zia, journalists and religious scholars will have to be scrapped; and all “false cases” filed against them should be withdrawn.
- There will be no barrier to holding rallies and no cases can be filed to gag the opposition’s voice.
- All the black laws, including the Digital Security Act 2018, Anti-Terrorism Act 2009 and the Special Powers Act 1974 must be repealed.
- Anti-people government decisions, including price hikes of electricity, fuel, fertiliser and water should be scuffled.
- Prices of daily essentials should be brought under people’s capacity and the market should be syndicate-free.
- A commission must be formed to identify the corruption in banking and energy sectors and share market.
- All the victims of enforced disappearances in last 15 years should be rescued and those responsible for extrajudicial killings must be identified and punished.
- Criminals responsible for attacking houses and places of worship belonging to the minorities should be brought to law.
- Steps should be taken so that the law enforcement agencies, judiciary and administration work independently and without any interference of the government.