Security beefed up in Dhaka ahead of opposition rally

Dhaka, Dec 28: Security has been beefed up in the Bangladeshi capital ahead of Sunday’s march by the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) to stall the upcoming parliamentary elections scheduled for Jan 5, 2014.

All modes of transport bound for the capital stopped plying Saturday in an apparent move to keep opposition activists from carrying out their march, Xinhua reported.

Transporters said they were asked by the ruling party to halt operations for two days to thwart the long march.

The BNP, led by former prime minister Khaleda Zia, has urged people from all walks of life to join the march towards the capital to put pressure on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government to scrap the elections.

The ruling Awami League party has already vowed to resist the programme and asked its activists to guard all entry points to Dhaka.

“Guard all the eight entry points of Dhaka so that even a fly cannot enter Dhaka city,” Awami League leader Mofazzal Hossain Maya said Saturday.

Meanwhile, Zia has directed opposition leaders and activists to defy any government obstructions and make the programme a success.

BNP leader Osman Faruk Friday said the Dhaka Metropolitan Police has not yet given permission to them for staging the march Sunday.

Additional Inspector General of Police Shahidul Haque said they would resist people coming to join the march.

“Police will resist… as the programme has no permission,” the police official was quoted as saying by The Daily Star.

Police have reportedly detained hundreds of activists of the BNP and its key ally Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami party from various parts of the country.

The 18-party opposition alliance seeks cancellation of the polls over Hasina’s refusal for non-party interim government to oversee the elections.