Bangladesh: Police arrest dozens of opposition leaders

160 party activists injured in clashes, opposition claims
February 14, 2021

DHAKA, Bangladesh (Anadolu) – Bangladesh police on Saturday rounded up dozens of opposition activists in a bid to foil a large protest in the capital Dhaka, the country’s main opposition party said.

The Bangladesh National Party (BNP) also claimed more than a hundred of its workers were injured in baton charges by police.

In a news conference condemning the alleged police violence, Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, a senior BNP leader, said 160 activists were injured.

“The government has started a series of conspiracies to divert the attention of the people from the grim corruption of the top officials of the state that surfaced on global media. The government has to prove and give explanations on those news stories that have been covered,” he said, in a veiled reference to an Al-Jazeera documentary on ties of the country’s army chief with a criminal network abroad.

The documentary has created quite a stir globally with the UN and rights groups calling for a probe into the Bangladesh army. However, within Bangladesh the issue has been muzzled in the local media which is tightly controlled by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government.

The protest was organized to condemn the government’s move to cancel the state title of Zia-ur-Rahman, the late founder of BNP.

Former President Zia was awarded the title of Bir Uttam (Valiant Hero) for his services in the nine-month war in 1971 which secured Bangladesh’s independence from Pakistan.

The government says Zia was involved in the assassination of the country’s founding father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, a claim the opposition denies.

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