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BNP rally now at Golapbagh ground in city today

FE REPORT | December 10, 2022 00:00:00

With the chief guest and the chair held behind bars, the much-orchestrated BNP rally will now be held at a third venue in Dhaka's Golapbagh playground today to demand fair polls.

BNP secretary-general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, who was the designated chief guest at the meet, and standing committee-member Mirza Abbas, who was to chair it, were sent to jail Friday from Dhaka Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) court in a police case linked to Wednesday's Nayapaltan dustup.

The two senior party leaders were picked up from their respective residences late night Thursday and later shown arrested in the case lodged with Paltan Police Station on allegations of "planning and attacking police".

After days of stalemate over the venue selection, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) finally got permission Friday to hold the divisional mass rally at Golapbagh playground.

Acting on the latest information, a significant number of BNP activists already thronged the ground from different parts of the city from afternoon as a party spokesperson expressed their optimism about making the event a "success" and called upon the party faithful to join the meet peacefully.

The announcement regarding the venue was made by BNP Vice-Chairman Dr AZM Zahid Hossain following a meeting at the DMP headquarters in the city's Minto Road. Law Affairs Secretary of the party Kayser Kamal accompanied Mr Zahid during the meeting.

"Police allowed us (BNP) to hold the rally at Golapbagh playground on December 10 upon our application," Mr Zahid told the media in front of the gate of Detective Branch (DB) office in Minto Road.

He said they (BNP) had sought police permission for holding mass rally at Shaheed Sepoy Mohammad Mostofa Kamal Stadium at Kamalapur but police did not give them permission as tournament was going on at the stadium.

DMP commissioner Khandaker Golam Faruq also confirmed the decision to the media regarding permission for Golapbagh-playground use for the opposition rally.

"We (police) have visited the field (Golaobagh playground) and upon the nod from the high officials, BNP is allowed to hold the programme at the venue," he said.

BNP applied to the DMP Commissioner on November 13 for permission to arrange the Dhaka divisional rally in Nayapaltan where the former ruling party is headquartered.

In reply to the application, police had suggested the party to hold the rally in Suhrawardy Udyan, but BNP turned down the offer.

Party and police sat for several rounds of discussion on settling the venue for holding rally in Dhaka on December 10.

While the discussion was going on, a clash erupted between police and BNP activists on Wednesday afternoon in Nayapaltan area that left one person dead and some others injured, including party activists and police personnel.

"Ahead of the rally at Golapbagh, highway police have beefed up security at all the entry points to the capital where they thoroughly checked all inbound public transports in the name of security checks," party sources and witnesses said.

There are also allegations of even checking the messages on mobile phone of pedestrians.

Meanwhile, the BNP central-office area remained off-limits with police cordons at both ends of that section of the road.

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