The district administration of Gazipur on Friday imposed Section 144 at Bhawal Badre Alam Government College ground and its adjacent areas to ward off any untoward incident as both Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and Bangladesh Chatra League (BCL), the student front of the ruling Awami League, had declared to hold a rally at the same venue today (Saturday).
BNP Acting Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Friday night at a emergency press briefing at the party chairperson?s Gulshan office blasted the government for imposing Section 144 at their meeting venue. He announced a day-long hartal in Gazipur district today (Saturday) in protest against the imposition of Section 144. He also declared countrywide demonstrations on the day. The today?s scheduled BNP rally at Gazipur has been cancelled despite BNP Chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia?s annoucement to hold the rally at any cost.
On Friday, Nurul Islam, Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Gazipur, told reporters that no political parties would be allowed to hold rallies at Bhawal Badre Alam Government College ground on Saturday in the interest of law and order. "We will initiate necessary measures so that none can create any anarchy in the area centering the political event," the DC said.
Section 144 prohibits assembly of five or more persons, holding of public meetings, and carrying of firearms.
BCL had publicly declared to prevent BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia's rallies in any corner of the country until and unless Tarique Rahman offers unconditional apology to the nation for his remarks against Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
On the other hand, Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal, BNP's student wing, vowed to give BCL leaders and activists a befitting reply, if they tried to prevent Khaleda Zia from attending mass rallies.
BCL, Jubo League, Krishak League, Jubo Mohila League on Friday morning tried to take hold of the venue but the police drove them away and cordoned off the place, our Gazipur Correspondent reports.
Meanwhile, in the changed circumstances BCL decided to shift its demonstration place from the college ground to the district AL office premises or Gazipur Crossing (Chowrasta).
A large number of law enforcers including police equipped with three water cannons were deployed at the venue to avert any untoward incident. Gazipur city mayor and BNP Chairperson's Adviser MA Mannan has demanded that the local administration withdraw the Section 144 to BNP hold its rally scheduled for Saturday.
"We are very much shocked at the decision of the administration over Khaleda Zia's rally. Such decision was taken to cooperate with a certain group. We strongly condemn this," Mannan said.
On Friday morning, Mirza Fakhrul announced that the party's scheduled rally for Saturday would be held in Gazipur at any cost.
"The government will be held responsible if our rally is hindered anyhow and the country's prevailing situation will be jeopardised if it is done," he warned.
BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia Saturday evening called an emergency meeting of the party's highest policy making body in wake of the ban on political activities in Gazipur.
Gazipur district BCL General Secretary Touhidul Islam Dip told The Daily Observer, "According to the direction of the central BCL they would prevent Khaleda Zia's rally at any cost until and unless Tarique offers unconditional apology. We will also hold protest rally at Gazipur Chowrasta."
"We will put barricade on all points of entry to Tongi and Gazipur," he said.