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Opposition’s 72-hour shutdown from today

Businessmen urged to join movement

by Staff Reporter



A 72-hour general strike called by the four-party opposition alliance is being enforced throughout the country from this morning to press for resignation of the government and holding of early elections.

JAGPA, National Democratic Alliance, Democratic League and other partners of the seven-party alliance also extended their support to the opposition-called non-stop general strike.

Meanwhile, the opposition has incorporated in its programme the new agenda to protest the BSF attack along Bangladesh border and what it called the government’s subservient policy towards India.

The Leader of the Opposition Begum Khaleda Zia in a statement yesterday called upon the people to make the hartal programme a success defying government intimidation and repression.

To drum up support for the hartal programme, BNP and its front organisations brought out torch procession from eleven places in the city. The central torch processions was brought out from the party central office at Nayapaltan in the evening. Jatiya Party (Matin-Naziur) also organised a torch procession from Muktangan.

Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh organised a procession from the north gate of Baitul Mukarram, and Islami Oikya Jote brought out a procession from Paltan crossing.

Earlier yesterday morning, the four-party Liaison Committee held a meeting at BNP Central office to discuss preparations for the 72-hour hartal.

Presided over by BNP Secretary General Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan, the meeting was attended by M Shamsul Islam, Sadek Hossain Khoka, Mirza Abbas and Gayeswar Chandra Roy of BNP; ABM Ghulam Mostafa, Mostafa Zamal Haider and Shah Mohammad Abu Zafar of Jatiya Party; Abdul Kader Mollah and ATM Azharul Islam of Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh and Ahmed Abdul Quader, Maulana Tayebur Rahman and Maulana Abdur Rob Yusufi of Islami Oikya Jote.

In pre-hartal violence, two bombs were exploded in front of Paltan police box at about 7.15 pm yesterday creating panic in the area. None was reported to have been hurt in the explosion.

Another bomb was exploded at Asad gate at about 8pm. The explosion caused an autorickshaw to catch fire injuring its driver.

To maintain law and order situation during the hartal, Dhaka Metropolitan police have planned deployment of five thousand police and paramilitary BDR at vulnerable points in the city.

UNB adds: The four-party opposition alliance has apparently ignored businessmen's move for halting hartal saying that their interests are also involved in the current anti-government movement.

Rather the opposition leader asked all sections of people, including business community, to join the ongoing movement to force the government to quit.

In a meeting yesterday the central liaison committee of the alliance discussed the recent statements of business bodies regarding the present political situation, particularly the initiative of the business community against shutdowns.

"The current agitation is against the overall misrule of the government as mills and factories, trade and commerce everything is already at stake," the meeting observed.

"The opposition is compelled to call hartal and other programmes as the government did not accept the popular demand," the alliance said.

Listing a series of "failures, misdeeds, and inefficiency of the Awami League government" during its nearly five-year rule, the meeting said the four-party alliance along with the people was continuing the movement demanding resignation of the government for fresh election to end the "inept government's misrule".

They noted that this movement is not merely for change of power, the movement is for protecting the country and its people as well as its agriculture, industry, trade and commerce, education and culture.

"But the government unleashed repression on the opposition leaders and workers ignoring the public demand for handing over power to caretaker government for fresh general elections," the alliance said.

The liaison meeting was held on the eve of a 72-hour hartal being enforced by the alliance to press their demand for immediate transfer of power.

Presided over by BNP secretary general Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan, the meeting was attended by Tariqul Islam, Shamsul Islam, Mirza Abbas and Sadek Hossain Khoka of BNP, Abdul Kader Molla and ATM Azharul Islam of Jamaat-e-Islam, ABM Golam Mostafa, Mostafa Jamal Haider and Golam Sorwar Milon of JP (M-N) and Ahmed Abdul Kader and Abdur Rab Yusufi of IOJ.