BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Wednesday reiterated the party's firm stance about holding the 10 December rally in front of the party's Nayapaltan office in Dhaka, even as police have proposed Suhrawardy Udyan for the political programme.
"I want to categorically say we are not comfortable where you [the authorities] want us to be," Mirza Fakhrul said at a protest rally in front of the party's central office in Nayapaltan Wednesday.
On Tuesday, police proposed Suhrawardy Udyan to the BNP on 26 conditions.
Citing potential traffic woes and security reasons related to the holding of the rally at Nayapaltan, police Wednesday said they will take action if the BNP tries to hold the rally anywhere in Dhaka except Suhrawardy Udyan.
"Any defiance will meet with Sections 28 and 29 of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Ordinance Act," DMP Deputy Commissioner (media and public relations) Faruk Hossain told The Business Standard.
The sections are about the power of the police to prohibit an assembly or procession to maintain law and order.
Labelling the traffic and security concerns "lame excuses" by the police, Fakhrul said, "There will be thin traffic on Saturday [10 December] as it is a weekend. Besides, there have been many national-level rallies at Nayapaltan. But there was never any problem with them."
At the protest rally, Mirza Fakhrul lambasted the government for arrests and "police persecution" of BNP leaders and activists through "false and fabricated cases".
He alleged police are raiding residences of BNP men across the country to thwart the movement by the party. "Some 169 cases were filed in the last seven days against 6,723 individuals and more than 600 were arrested."
"You [the government] are not even leaving a corridor for a safe exit. I repeat, now be mindful of arranging a safe exit," he added.
In a separate development on Wednesday, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said the government has allowed the BNP to hold the 10 December rally smoothly, but if the party "initiates any kind of violence, it will be a big mistake".
He said if BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia joins the rally, the court will take steps, according to UNB.
"Khaleda Zia is out of jail on condition, and if she joins the public rally, the court will take steps," the minister said while speaking at an annual training programme of Bangladesh Police Women Network in Dhaka's Rajarbagh area.
"We told them that they must conduct their political activities as it is their political right, but they will not be allowed to create chaos and anarchy in the name of the rally," said Asaduzzaman.