Political activists arrested to thwart anti-govt agitation in B'desh

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Dhaka, May 31 (UNI) Bangladesh's military-backed caretaker government cracked down on major political parties, rounding up more than 100 mid-level activists yesterday to ward off agitation to free their detained leaders including former Prime Ministers Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia.

The crackdown started mainly in the country's southern districts after Awami League and Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) rejected an offer for dialogue with the government ahead of the general elections slated for December this year.

The parties rejected the dialogue until Awami League president Sheikh Hasina and BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia are released. Both the leaders were arrested last year in connection with graft cases wherein they denied their involvement.

Most of the arrested activists belonged to Awami League and BNP, party sources said, alleging that police arrested the activists to thwart public anger against the caretaker government that assumed office in January last year.

On Thursday, Awami League threatened to disobey the emergency rules if its chief Sheikh Hasina was not released and false cases against party leaders were not lifted.

Taking a similar tough stand against the government, BNP secretary general Khandkar Delwar Hossain threatened of street movement.

Inspector General of Police Nur Mohammad, however, told a private TV channel-I that it is a drive against criminals and wanted people and recovery illegal firearms.


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