Amid the ongoing standoff between the Awami League and the BNP over the venue of its 10 December rally, the Dhaka Metropolitan Police on Monday said that the political opposition will not be allowed to gather on any road of the capital.
"Police will not allow the BNP on the road. We have already given them the rally permission on Suhrawardy Udyan," said Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Commissioner Khandker Golam Faruq.
The BNP has been holding rallies in its political divisional cities since early-October for several demands including poll-time caretaker government and release of the party Chairperson Khaleda Zia. The series political programmes are scheduled to end with the Dhaka rally on 10 December.
But the venue is yet to be finalised. The BNP wants to hold the rally in front of its Nayapaltan party office, but cops say no to it, saying the gathering will "obstruct the regular traffic flow" and cause sufferings to people.
The DMP conditionally permitted Suhrawardy Udyan to the party. Top BNP leaders, adamant about the venue demand, announced that they would hold the rally in front of the party office without permission if required.
However, Dhaka's Arambagh cropped up as the new venue following BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Sunday softened the tone. Passing the ball to police's court, Mirza Fakhrul Islam mentioned alternative venues to Suhrawardy Udyan must not be backward places like the bank of river Turag.
On Sunday evening, a BNP team met the DMP commissioner at his office to talk about the alternatives. But they could not reach any conclusion, as the BNP did not come up with any venue proposal either.
Discarding Arambagh from the list, DMP Commissioner Khandker Golam Faruq on Monday said the potential venue is also on busy roads, and they cannot let people suffer due to a political gathering.
Political tensions continue to soar
Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader on Monday said ruling party men will be on guard across the country ahead of the BNP rally. On the other hand, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir called for making the 10 December political gathering a success at any cost.
Accusing the BNP of arson and vandalism ahead of the rally, Obaidul Quader told a Awami League programme in Noakhali that BNP men want to come to the Nayapaltan party office with sticks and fire as they seek violence.
"Get ready, the game is on," Quader told the ruling party activists.
At a meeting in BNP Gulshan party office, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said the 10 December rally is no longer a political programme for the BNP alone, rather it is a gathering to protect the existence of the entire nation.
"Not only the people of the country, the whole world is looking at the gathering. So we have to make the rally a success at any cost," he commented.
He said, "The Awami League government destroyed the country's political structure, looted everything and destroyed the economic system. They took away people's right to vote. So we have to defeat them and reclaim our rights."