Bangladesh opposition’s senior leader held over violence

Dhaka, Dec 31: A senior leader of Bangladesh’s main opposition party — Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) — was arrested Monday evening as he came out of the party chairperson Khaleda Zia’s house.

Zia, a former prime minister, has virtually remained confined to her house since the opposition alliance launched “March for Democracy” programme Dec 24.

The Detective Branch of Bangladesh police arrested BNP’s Vice-Chairman Shamsher Mobin Chowdhury Monday night, Xinhua reported.

Chowdhury and Zia’s two advisers — Reaz Rahman and Sabihuddin Ahmed — entered the opposition chief’s residence around 5.00 p.m. to help her with a meeting with British High Commissioner in Dhaka Robert Gibson.

Soon after Gibson’s departure, Chowdhury came out and was arrested by the detectives at about 7.30 p.m. local time.

“Reaz Rahman managed to leave the house safely but Chowdhury was arrested,” Sabihuddin Ahmed told Xinhua over phone. “I’m staying inside the opposition chief’s house to avoid arrest,” he said.

Deputy Commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Masudur Rahman told Xinhua that Chowdhury was detained for “instigating political violence.”

A BNP official, who did not want to be named, however, termed the charge against Chowdhury as “totally false and fake”.

Chowdhury, who served as Bangladesh’s foreign secretary from October 2001 to March 2005, can never be involved in any such activity as instigating violence, he said.

The arrest aimed at weakening opposition’s ongoing movement demanding parliament polls under a non-party caretaker government, he added.

Khaleda’s 18-party alliance is boycotting the parliamentary elections slated for Jan 5 and trying to put pressure on Hasina government to scrap the polls.

IANS