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Fresh 72-hr blockade from today
Publication Date : 17-12-2013
The opposition party BNP-led 18-party alliance enforces yet another spell of countrywide blockade of rail, roads and waterways beginning this morning, triggering fresh fear of violence and loss of lives.
The 72-hour blockade will also deal a heavy blow to education, business and public life in general that are already hit hard due to the crippling opposition programmes over the past two months.
The blockade will end at 6:00am on Friday, but BNP insiders said they might call a weeklong blockade from Saturday, which would be the “endgame” of their movement.
Earlier, the opposition alliance has enforced 371 hours (15 days) of countrywide blockade since November 26, demanding cancellation of the polls schedule announced the day before. Scores have died in violence since, many in arson attack on public and private vehicles.
“We want to say unequivocally to the government that it must stop playing hide and seek over the election, stop playing all kinds of election drama, cancel the election schedule and save the country from extremely anarchic situation,” BNP leader Nazrul Islam Khan said, announcing the blockade from the party chairperson’s Gulshan office.
Political analysts say this announcement means that the talks between the ruling Awami League and the opposition BNP have failed to end the impasse centring on the January 5 election.
Nazrul Islam, however, said BNP chief Khaleda Zia would ease the blockade if the government agreed to hold the polls under a nonparty government.
Talking about the fresh programme, one BNP leader told The Daily Star: “BNP’s very existence will depend on the success of the endgame of this movement. Either BNP or the ruling party will survive depending on the outcome of the game.”
But State Minister for Home Shamsul Haque Tuku and AL leader Mahbubul Alam Hanif warned against any violence, saying they would resist the opposition “anarchy” by all means.
In the briefing, Nazrul Islam said the government was staging a drama in the name of holding the election, sensing a sure defeat if the election is held with the participation of all political parties.
“People have been deprived of their voting rights,” he said, adding that the government was keeping the opposition out of the polls race.
Referring to Sunday’s inter ministerial meeting that decided that AL men will accompany law enforcers in tackling the opposition activists on the streets, he said such a decision would push the country towards a civil war like situation.
Nazrul urged the government to backtrack on the decision.