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Thursday, January 08, 2015, Poush 25, 1421, Robiul Awal 16, 1436 Hijr

BNP blockade ahead of Biswa Ijtema stokes up resentment
Al Amin
Published : Thursday, 8 January, 2015,  Time : 10:08 AM,  View Count : 110
The stance of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP)-led 20-party alliance to remain firm on continuing a countrywide blockade ahead of Biswa Ijtema has created huge resentment among the countrymen.
The first phase of Biswa Ijtema, second largest Muslim congregation in the world, will be held from January 9 to 11 while the last phase from January 16 to 18.
Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, Joint Secretary General of the BNP, at video conference from an unknown place said, "The countrywide blockade of highways, railways and waterways will continue until further notice."
Brig Gen (retd) ASM Hannan Shah, a Standing Committee member of the BNP, told The Daily Observer, "BNP has yet to take any decision regarding the nature of the blockade during Biswa Ijtema."
On the other hand, Lt Gen (retd) Mahbubur Rahman said, "Relaxation in the blockade programme may come during the Ijtema."    
Meanwhile, Mahabubul Alam Hanif, Joint General Secretary of the ruling Awami League told journalists on Wednesday, "I hope that BNP will withdraw its blockade programme from Thursday on the occasion the second largest Muslim congregation of the World."
The people, who are willing to attend the upcoming Biswa Ijtema would, otherwise, face nothing but misery, it is alleged.
Meanwhile, over two hundred foreigners who have entered the country through Benapole Land Port of Jessore to participate in Biswa Ijtema remained stranded in Check Post area till Wednesday, failing to get any transport for Tongi, our correspondent said.
They later took shelter in local mosques and bus counters, said Aktaruzzzaman, Officer-in-Charge of Benapole immigration police.
The foreigners include nationals of India, Pakistan, Bahrain and Afghanistan.
On Monday, BNP chief Khaleda Zia called for the indefinite countrywide blockade to protest the government's not allowing her party and allies to hold rallies in the capital and elsewhere.
The BNP Chairperson is still "confined" in her Gulshan office, which police cordoned off on Saturday night. They repeatedly stopped her from leaving the premises since then.
Khaleda Zia is now sick due to the impact of pepper spray used by police on Monday, Maruf Kamal Sohel, press secretary of the BNP Chairperson, said quoting her personal physician.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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