BNP activists gather amid transport strike03 December 2022
Staff Reporter :
Thousands of BNP leaders and workers in droves are reaching Rajshahi city overlooking transport strike and police obstructions to attend their ninth rally on Saturday to press home demands including the resignation of the government.
Many of the opposition leaders and activists from other districts of the Rajshahi Division had already reached there by trains or motorcycles and other vehicles.
But law enforcers did not allow them to enter the Madrassah ground premises because police allowed the rally to be held following 12 conditions.
The venue would be opened for the entry of BNP leaders and workers on Saturday. Only those who will be engaged in making the stage are allowed with ID Cards to work.
Meanwhile, BNP workers had already thronged around the venue and erected makeshift camps on Rajshahi Central Eidgah Maat for their stay before the rally.
Those who already reached there said that they faced hurdles by transport strikes and police harassment in the name of checking.
But they further said that such obstructions could not dampen their spirits to attend the rally in a bid to raise their voices on various issues including caretaker government and right to vote.
As the divisional transport strike began in eight districts of the division on Thursday, many BNP men reached Rajshahi city much earlier by train or other small vehicles.
The indefinite strike was enforced by the Divisional Transport Owners Association with the demand for freeing the highways from three-wheelers, human hauler and laguna.
But on the other hand, the district Mishuk-CNG Owners Association also declared an indefinite strike on Friday amid the ongoing transport strike.
The body said that their strike would continue until their two point demands were met, which include free movement of three-wheelers on the highways and easy and hassle-free registration by BRTA.
Vice-President of Rajshahi Mishuk-CNG Owners Association Ahsan Habib said, "Our three-wheelers cannot ride on all roads freely. We demand for free movement of our vehicles. Besides, when we go for registration for new vehicles, we are harassed. We want to get rid of this situation. So we have been forced to enforce a strike."
This two-prong transport strike caused immense sufferings for the people as they were basically severed from movement from one place to another place. Three wheelers were their last resort, but these have also been halted.
But the BNP said that the strikes were meant for preventing their leaders and workers from spontaneously participating in the rally. For the strike, many leaders and workers reached the venue on foot.
Meanwhile, the BNP workers and leaders in fragmented processions from various districts were heading to the venue and its adjacent areas while chanting slogans on Friday.
"The transport strike could not prevent us from joining the rally. Whatever steps the Awami League government takes, there is no way but to resign. Our programme will end through the toppling of the government," Sirajganj district BNP Publicity Secretary Mokbul said.
"I along with 50 of our activists have come here. We will leave the venue after making the rally a success," Natore district BNP activist Forhad Ali Dewan said.
Earlier, BNP leaders and workers including BNP Central Organising Secretary and Rally Coordinator of Rajshahi Division Advocate Ruhul Quddus Dulu said their Jumma prayer at the Rajshahi Central Eidgah Math.
"So far two lakh people have reached Rajshahi. They are staying at the venue and other places like hotels and relative houses. The work for constructing the stage is going on. More than 10 lakh people will gather here on Saturday," Dulu told the journalists on Friday.
He also talked about the police obstruction to enter the venue before the day of the rally.
"We have so far completed eight rallies. We did not face it earlier. I am not allowed to enter the venue," he added.
"On Tuesday Police broke down our makeshift camps for the leaders and workers who arrived from different districts. From that day none is allowed to enter the venue. So our people are staying on Eidgah Math," Rajshahi Mahanagar BNP Convener Advocate Ershad Ali Esha told the journalists.
Regarding police obstruction on the way, BNP chairperson's Advisor Mizanur Rahman Minu said, "Our leaders and activists had to suffer a lot because they were forced to get down from the vehicles. But it could not dampen their spirits."
Defying the transport strikes, around 300 motorbikes carrying party leaders and activists from Bogura were stopped by law enforcers on Bogura-Naogaon Highway in Dupchanchia upazila around noon on Friday. But police let them go after 30 minutes in the name of checking papers, BNP said.
After the Rajshahi rally BNP has the final rally in Dhaka on December 10, but still a tug of war is going on about the venue in the capital.