Bangladesh prepares for Opposition showdown Sunday


Dhaka : Deals signed with India by Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina are high on the agenda of the day-long nationwide protests that main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) has called for Sunday.

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Hasina, during her visit to India in January early this year, signed agreements that envisage exchange of criminals, fight against terrorism, and better trade ties besides a host of economic and security issues.

BNP Chairperson and Opposition leader Khaleda Zia announced the general strike at a grand rally in Dhaka May 19, protesting against a number of issues against the government of her political rival, Sheikh Hasina. These also include the recently-signed treaties with India.

Warning against arson and lawlessness, authorities in Bangladesh were preparing for the first nationwide stir called by the BNP since parliamentary elections in December 2008 in which it was routed by the Hasina-led “Grand Alliance”.

Dhaka Metropolitan Police Commissioner A.K.M. Shahidul Haque Friday said the police would not prevent the BNP from observing its dawn-to-dusk stir. But it will take stern action against the protesters if they try to create anarchy by vandalising vehicles or setting them on fire, Star Online, the website of The Daily Star reported.

Tender-grabbing and extortions by government cronies; resolution of the ongoing water, gas, and electricity crises; resignation of the Election Commission; and cancellation of the recently-signed treaties with India are among the issues that will be highlighted in the protest, the website said.

The official said additional 10,000 police forces will be deployed at 4.00 a.m. on the day of the stir to maintain law and order.