September 27, 2011: Paltan, adjacent areas turn into human sea
DHAKA, September 27, 2011: BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia Tuesday afternoon declared three road marches to press home their demand for restoring the caretaker government system.
In her address at a Naya Paltan rally, the opposition leader said they will conduct a road march towards Sylhet from Dhaka on October 10, another towards Rajshahi on October 18 and the other towards Chittagong on October 25.
She accused the Awami League-led grand alliance government of torturing opposition leaders and activists.
“They (AL) want to stay in power through intimidation,” she said. “But you do not know that you cannot stay in power through installing fear and torture.”
Saying the government is using police as ruling party activists, she asked the policemen to stop torturing people and reminded them of their duty as the protectors of the people.
The former prime minister accused the government of exacerbating public sufferings by raising fuel prices repeatedly. She said the law and order of the country has deteriorated seriously.
The opposition leader alleged that the government is turning the country into a poor one by looting money. She started delivering her address shortly after 5:00pm. She is set to declare a series of agitation programmes Tuesday afternoon demanding restoration of the caretaker government system.
The former prime minister arrived at the meeting venue in front of BNP’s Naya Paltan central office around 3:40pm amid cheers from tens of thousands of party leaders and activists.
Once on the podium, she waved to the ralliers who also chanted slogans in favour of Khaleda and carried sheaf of paddy, the election symbol of the main opposition party.
Our correspondent covering the event reports that Naya Paltan and its adjacent areas including Arambagh, Fakirerpool, Bijoynagar and Kakrail turned into a human sea as the supporters are pouring into the capital for the highly-orchestrated rally.
The leaders, activists and supporters were seen carrying colourful banners, festoons, placards and portraits of BNP founder late president Ziaur Rahman, Khaleda and BNP Senior Vice-president Tarique Rahman.
Hundreds of buses and trucks carried the supporters from adjacent districts and areas of the capital including Manikganj, Tangail, Sirajganj and Dhamrai to the venue.
Huge contingents of Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) and police personnel have been deployed in and around the area to maintain law and order during the rally.
In a press briefing on Monday, BNP city chief Mayor Sadeque Hossain Khoka said they were preparing to make the rally the biggest political showdown in recent times.
Khaleda had declared that her party would not accept general elections without the supervision of a non-partisan caretaker government. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, however, on Sunday at a programme in New York reiterated that the next election will be held under the political government.
The caretaker government system was scrapped through the fifteenth amendment of the constitution. Opposition leaders earlier said that besides agitation programme like road march and demonstration, Khaleda in her address may declare a time limit for the government to fulfil their demands.
MK Anwar, a member of the party's standing committee, said earlier that they will call hartal if the government tries to foil their day’s programme.
Eight like-minded parties and a few other political parties, which want restoration of the caretaker system, are expected to join the rally. [source: The Daily Star]