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BNP office opens after 47 days

Fakhrul says wants talks with govt

Staff Correspondent

The acting BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir visits the central BNP office at Naya Paltan in Dhaka after it was reopened after a 47-day closure on Thursday. — New Age photoThe acting BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir visits the central BNP office at Naya Paltan in Dhaka after it was reopened after a 47-day closure on Thursday. — New Age photo

The BNP’s central office at Naya Paltan opened on Thursday, after more than a month and a half, since the party’s joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi was arrested there on the night of November 29.
Four party leaders led by the assistant office secretary Abdul Latif Jony went to the office around 11:30am along with some activists. Two other assistant office secretaries Shamimur Rahman Shamim and Asadul Karim Shahin and Juba Dal vice-president Abdus Salam Azad were with Jony.
BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhurl Islam Alamgir went to the office at 1:30pm after the High Court asked the police not to arrest or harass him in connection with three criminal cases until submission of police reports.
BNP organising secretary and Khulna city unit president Nazrul Islam Monju and executive committee member Rafiq Sikder were the next to enter the office followed by a few more leaders.
Uniformed and plainclothes police remained on guard around the office but they did not stop anyone. Besides, a prison van and water cannon remained near the office.
Fakhrul visited the party headquarters after more than two months. He entered his chamber after visiting different office rooms that were vandalised on the night of November 29 when law enforcers arrested Rizvi.
‘We’ve entered the office after 47 days. Police and members of other law enforcement agencies had besieged our office. But we have not faced any obstruction today (Thursday). We hope the government would not prevent activists from entering the office’, Jony told reporters.
Leaders and activists welcomed Mirza Fakhrul with flowers in the office at about 1:30pm. Fakhrul said he was worried about how many days the government would let them run the BNP headquarters.
‘We’re now in jail. The whole country has turned into a prison. We don’t know how many days the government would allow us to run the office’, he told reporters in his chamber.
Fakhrul, however, expressed the party’s willingness to sit for dialogue with the new government though he termed it ‘illegal’. ‘We can’t have talks with the wind. So we consider them a ‘so-called’ government. But a proposal for talks must come from them,’ he said.
He said the ruling Awami League had formed the cabinet ‘deceiving’ the people in the name of elections on January 5.
‘The country is running in a bizarre way. The opposition is attending the cabinet, though, the constitution demands a functioning opposition’, Fakhrul said.
He demanded release of opposition leaders and activists alleging that the government was hatching conspiracies to destroy the opposition. ‘Even the courts are delaying cases against the opposition activists, including some elderly leaders’, he alleged.
‘People would not tolerate the way they are destroying democracy. They would restore their democratic rights through movement,’ Fakhrul said.
He stayed at the office for 17 minutes.

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