Bangladesh govt warns of Zia`s arrest if anarchy continues
Dhaka: Bangladesh government on Sunday warned Opposition Leader Khaleda Zia that she may also face arrest like other top BNP leaders if her party continues "vandalism and terrorist activities" amid a four-day nationwide shutdown.
"If the BNP continues vandalism and terrorist activities, then BNP`s top leaders including Khaleda Zia will have to face the same fate like the detained leaders," said State Minister for Law Qamrul Islam.
"They (the opposition) are a threat to life and property. They have planned, instigated and patronised violence," Qamrul said.
At least one person was killed and nearly 100 injured in Bangladesh as opposition activists clashed with police and ruling party members as a four-day nationwide shutdown demanding a neutral caretaker government to oversee the next general election began today.
A large contingent of policemen was deployed in front of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chief Zia`s residence minutes after the strike was called.
Situation took a turn for the worse yesterday after three members of BNP`s highest policymaking committee - Moudud Ahmed, MK Anwar and Rafiqul Islam Mia - were arrested.
Later, police detained Zia`s adviser, business tycoon Abdul Awal Mintoo, and her special assistant Shimul Biswas, prompting BNP to increase the duration of the strike from 72 to 84 hours.
A Dhaka court remanded the five leaders to jail yesterday pending further hearing.
Environment and Forest Minister Hasan Mahmud, however, offered an olive branch and said arrested BNP leaders might be released if the opposition agrees for talks and promises to move away from the path of "anarchy", the newspaper `Prothom Alo` reported.
Mahmud insisted that the government showed "enough patience" in the face of anarchy of the opposition through strikes and agitations before taking action.
"But if the opposition continues with their current course of action, the government will have to take tougher measures," he said.
"Any problem would have to be addressed as per the Constitution,? Mahmud added.
"Come up with a proposal for talks, shunning terrorist activities," Qmrul also urged the BNP.
Amid all the chaos, Awami League General Secretary Syed Ashraful Islam today inaugurated selling of nomination forms to aspirant parliamentarians and said that a new government will be in the office by mid-January.
The process kick-started with a nomination paper collected for party chief Hasina for Gopalganj-3.
A total of 27 people have died in violence linked to political turmoil since October 25.
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