A number of foreign diplomatic missions in Dhaka alerted their diplomats, staff members and foreign residents to the prevailing situation, especially possible troubles feared on the streets of Dhaka from today (Wednesday), diplomatic sources confirmed.
The warnings have been issued for possible street violence if the Chairperson of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) Khaleda Zia is arrested or the police raid her Gulshan office in the city, where she has been staying since January 3.
A programme on SAARC Youth Summit sponsored by the US Embassy scheduled for Tuesday at the American Centre in Dhaka was cancelled apprehending violence, the host of the event confirmed.
A British citizen working as a consultant for a development agency told this correspondent that some days back there was no restriction on movement of foreigners in Baridhara, Gulshan and Banani.
But he said some incidents of arson attacks on vehicles during hartal hours in diplomatic zone alarmed the diplomatic missions and international offices in the capital. Separate travel warnings were issued for citizens of the United States, United Kingdom (Britain), Canada, Australia, European Union, and other allied countries, who were planning to visit Bangladesh days after anti-government violent movement began on January 5.
In a message circulated by the US Embassy in Dhaka, American citizens were asked to remain vigilant, avoid crowds and be aware of surroundings at all times during hartal hours. The current message restricts the US Embassy employees and their family members from travelling in the diplomatic enclave (Banani, Baridhara and Gulshan) during hartal hours. Pedestrian, rickshaw, bicycle and other exposed means of movement during hours of darkness are not advised, the warning message says. The British citizens and the British High Commission staff have been advised to avoid the area around Road 86 Gulshan 2, where the BNP has its Gulshan office, until further notice.