Dhaka: Bangladesh authorities on Tuesday threatened to slap murder charges on the country's besieged opposition leader Khaleda Zia and arrested her deputy for inciting a series of deadly street violence by party supporters.
Bangladesh Nationalist Party acting general secretary Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir was arrested on the first day of the opposition's nationwide blockade to mark the first anniversary of the controversial general elections, boycotted by his party.
A police spokesman said Alamgir was arrested on a specific charge and legal procedures were underway to expose him to justice. He did not elaborate further.
"A police officer got onboard his car which was immediately driven away while a prison van and several police vehicles followed the car," a witness at the scene told PTI.
Alamgir had been holed up at the National Press Club since Monday night amid tensions over the BNP and the Awami League's parallel programmes on the first anniversary of the polls.
Witnesses said Alamgir virtually sneaked into the club yesterday on a motorbike to address a rally of pro-BNP journalists and professionals and stayed inside the premises overnight to evade the arrest.
Meanwhile, Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu threatened to bring murder charges against BNP leader Khaleda Zia, 69, over an arson attack by her alleged supporters last week which left three people fighting for their lives.
"She should prepare for a murder case," Inu told reporters as political tension engulfed the country.
He said the home ministry plans to file a case against Zia over the attack. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has also accused her arch rival of trying to trigger anarchy in the country.
State Minister for Home, Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal, later told newsmen that the authorities were yet to initiate the process for her arrest.