The BNP-led newly formed 18-partyalliance is going to enforce countrywide dawn-to-dusk hartal for twoconsecutive days from this morning protesting the government's failure to findout the missing party leader M Elias Ali.
BNP’s acting secretary generalMirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir at a press conference yesterday announced thehartal programme after the end of the'deadline' given by BNP chairperson and leader of the opposition Begum KhaledaZia.
After conclusion of consecutive three days of hartal inthe last week, the BNP chief on Tuesday gave the 'deadline' for the governmenttill 5 pm yesterday to find out the missing leader.
The yesterday's press conferencewas held at BNP's Nayapaltan central office in the capital wheresecretary-generals of other alliance partners and BNP senior leaders were alsopresent.
Among them, BNP standingcommittee members Barrister Moudud Ahmed and Barrister Zamiruddin Sircer, ProfMiah Gulam Parwar of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, Shamim-al-Mamun of BJP,Maulana Abdul Latif Nejami of Islami Oikya Jote, Khandaker Lutfur Rahman ofJagpa and M Gulam Mostafa Bhuiyan of Bangladesh NAP were present. After the missing of Elias Ali, theopposition is accusing the government of masterminding the incident and blamedthe law enforcing agencies of abducting the leader. BNP organising secretaryand Sylhet district unit president M Elias Ali, along with his driver AnsarAli, went missing on April 17 night. Police recovered his abandoned car fromMohakhali area at the early hours on April 18.
Earlier, BNP lonely enforcedconsecutive countrywide hartal for three days on April 22, 23 and 24 protestingthe disappearance of the leader while it also staged demonstration across thecountry on April 26 and 28 on the issue.
Announcing the hartal, MirzaFakhrul said, "We know that the people experience sufferings during hartalhours. But yet we have been compelled to call the programme in the greaterinterest as lives of the people are not safe in the hands of the presentgovernment."
Explaining the cause of calling thehartal, he said that they gave time for the government to present Elias Ali,also a former BNP MP, before his family. But, he said, the government did nottry to do it or it failed to rescue him. So they have called the consecutivehartal for two days.
He warned that the ongoingmovement would be intensified if Elias Ali and his driver were not returnedsafely. The next course of action will be announced just after observing thehartal, he added. Replying a question, the opposition spokesman said that theywould withdraw the shutdown programme as soon as the missing leader wasreturned.
In reply to another question, healso said that they would announce the next course of action considering theday of visit of the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Dhaka.
Mirza Fakhrul termed theabduction of Elias Ali and others during this government as 'crime againsthumanity' and also 'violation of human rights' and said a deep crisis has beencreated in the politics of the country.
He said that the government mustclear the 'whereabouts' of missing leader Elias Ali, otherwise it has to resignfrom power. Just one hour afterannouncing the hartal, a passenger-bus was set on fire in Azimpur area in thecapital. Criminals set fire on a bus of Route No-27 in front of Eden WomenUniversity College at around 6:00 pm, said eyewitnesses. Passengers of the bus and local peopledoused the flame. However, no casualty was reported in the incident.
Meanwhile, BNP staged countrywidedemonstration as the part of its pre-announced programme demanding tracing outthe missing leader. The party held rallies and brought out processions indifferent thanas of the capital and other parts of the country.
Mirza Fakhrul alleged that policeand ruling party men in the capital and elsewhere across the country yesterdayobstructed their programmes. He also claimed that at least 25 leaders andworkers were arrested while 88 persons were injured by police and the rulingparty men.
A procession was brought out inArambagh area by the Motijheel thana unit of the party led by the Dhaka cityunit member convener Abdus Salam. At least 12 persons were injured in theprocession due to police action.
Dhanmondi, Kalabagan and NewMarket thana units jointly held a rally at Green Road where 15 persons wereinjured by police action. Processionswere also brought out by thana units of Shyampur, Kafrul, Ramna, Shahbagh,Badda, Pallabai, Gulshan, Mohammadpur, Khilgaon, Demra and other thana units inthe capital. Several partners of theopposition 18-party alliance also held rallies and other programmes protestingthe disappearance of Elias Ali. Bangladesh NAP arranged a rally in Paltanarea.