BNP’s much-discussed last divisional rally in Dhaka has begun with participation of thousands of leaders and activists of the party.
The rally, arranged by Dhaka south and north city units of BNP, began at 11am this morning at Golapbagh field near Sayedabad.
The party is supposed to deliver messages from the rally for a simultaneous anti-government movement in the run up to the next general election.
Though the party formally got permission to organise the rally at the venue around 3pm on Friday, Golapbagh ground was teeming with BNP activists and followers by Friday evening – as they reached in advance with much enthusiasm.
The crowd continued to spill over onto nearby streets.
Senior BNP leaders, including standing committee members, will address the rally.
As party secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir was sent to jail, BNP’s senior-most standing committee member Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain will address the rally as chief guest and announce the next course of action.
The government and BNP came to an understanding over the rally after one person was killed in a clash between BNP activists and police at Nayapaltan that ultimately resulted in the arrest of over 450 party leaders and workers, including its secretary general Mirza Fakhrul and standing committee member Mirza Abbas.
BNP on September 27 announced a series of public rallies in 10 divisional cities to denounce the price hike of daily essentials and fuels, the death of five party men in previous police action in Bhola, Narayanganj, Munshiganj and Jashore, and to ensure the freedom of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia.
The party has already arranged rallies in Chattogram, Mymensingh, Khulna, Rangpur, Barishal, Faridpur, Sylhet, Cumilla and Rajshahi braving various obstacles and transport strikes.
BNP has long been demanding that the next general election be held under a caretaker government, not under any political government — a demand sharply rejected by the ruling Awami League as the constitution does not allow it to happen.
The party is going to conclude the divisional programmes through the massive rally in Dhaka city today which coincides with Human Rights Day.
Earlier on Friday, BNP standing committee member Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain at a press conference called upon the Dhaka city dwellers to spontaneously join their rally on Golapbagh ground peacefully to give the government a befitting reply to its efforts to foil a democratic programme.
10-Point Demand to be Announced
Mosharraf said, from their rally, they will announce a 10-point demand.
“We have already discussed the points of the movement with those who are ready to wage a simultaneous movement with us. We hope they will simultaneously announce the 10 points – that we have formulated – from their respective positions,” he said.
Mosharraf hoped that all parties who reach an understanding with them to initiate a simultaneous movement will move forward and intensify the anti-government agitation.
A BNP standing committee member, wishing anonymity, said the party will also announce some new programmes like demonstrations, token-hunger strikes, human chains and sit-ins from the rally demanding the release of party’s leaders and activists and press for their 10-point demand.
He said their demands include the resignation of the government, dissolution of parliament, including the provision of the caretaker government in the constitution through an amendment, formation of a new Election Commission under the caretaker government, creating a level-playing field before the election, holding the election using ballot papers, releasing BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia and all other political prisoners without any condition and revoking the Digital Security Act and other repressive laws, ensuring the freedom of expression and assembly and keeping all essential items within the buying capacity of people.