Dec 10 rally venue not fixed yet
With only four days left for BNP's December 10 rally in the capital, the complications over the venue are yet to be resolved.
The party has sought the National Eidgah field for the rally after police denied the permission to hold it in the Arambagh intersection as an alternative to Nayapaltan and Suhrawardy Udyan.
Police said they will not allow rallies or public gatherings on the streets of the capitals and such events can only be held on open grounds.
On the other hand, the BNP said it will not hold any rally in Suhrawardy Udyan and would prefer an area adjacent to its Nayapaltan headquarters as the venue.
Even amid this uncertainty, the party is preparing for the rally with leaders and activists already coming in from outside Dhaka.
The BNP held talks with the Dhaka Metropolitan Police over options for the venue but could not reach any consensus.
Shahiduddin Chowdhury Annie, the party's publicity affairs secretary, has talked to police officials several times in this regard.
Speaking to The Daily Star yesterday, Khandker Golam Faruq, commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police, said, "We will only grant permission for rallies if they are staged in open spaces or big fields like the International Trade Fare ground in Purbachal or the Bishwa Ijtema ground.
"We did not receive any proposal for an alternative venue from the party yet. They [the BNP] came for a discussion and we asked them to choose a big venue and an open ground like the Suhrawardy Udyan, and then we will think about it."
Contacted, Annie said, "Suhrawardy Udyan is not an open field … It is a park. As police did not agree to Arambagh, we discussed the Eidgah ground."
Sources said if the DMP verbally agrees, the BNP will send a formal letter to it for permission to hold the rally there.
Mirza Abbas, the party's standing committee member, said, "The rally is not meant to oust the government. Then why is the government fearing it? We have proposed alternative venues, but it is not responding."
Meanwhile, BNP sources said the party has instructed its leaders from Dhaka and adjacent areas to gather in the capital to ensure the success of the rally, and to stay at their relatives' or friends' homes to avoid arrests.
Dhaka division BNP leaders last night held a meeting with Tarique Rahman, the party's acting chairman, where he instructed the party men to gather in the capital.
Speaking at a meeting, organised by Bangladesh Sammalita Peshajibi Parishad at party chairperson Khaleda Zia's Gulshan office, earlier in the day, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said the party will hold its December 10 rally in the capital at any cost.
"The entire world will be keeping an eye on our rally ... We must make it successful."
He also said the party leaders are working tirelessly and inviting people to the rally amid serious obstacles, including arrests.
"We must hold a peaceful and successful rally on December 10, if we want to protect the nation, the country's independence and sovereignty, and get democracy back."
Also, speaking at a press briefing in the BNP Nayapaltan office, Mirza Abbas said, "None of our Dhaka city leaders can stay home as the government has created such a terrible situation here by resorting to terror activities. But our activists are not afraid.
"We urge the government not to create any obstacle during our peaceful rally."
He said the BNP will not respond to any kind of provocation by the government as its main goal is to hold the programme without chaos.
"We will just hold the rally from noon to 4:00pm and then our partymen will return to their homes."