Published:  02:33 AM, 13 October 2017

BNP support comes four hours into shutdown

The BNP has announced its support for Jamaat-e-Islami's dawn-to-dusk shutdown to protest the arrest of the party's eight top leaders, four hours after the countrywide strike kicked off. Its Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi Ahmed made the announcement yesterday at what the party described as an 'emergency press conference'.

"Jamaat-e-Islami has called the shutdown to demand the release of its leaders, saying they have been prosecuted illegally. On behalf of the BNP, I declare our support for it," he told the media at the party headquarters.

Traffic was moving at a regular pace near the BNP offices in Naya Paltan and other parts of the capital when Rizvi made the announcement at 10am.There has been little news of Jamaat activity since the shutdown began  at 6am, with only the increased police presence on the streets serving as a reminder of the situation.

On Tuesday, a court remanded eight top Jamaat leaders, including chief Maqbul Ahmed, Secretary General Shafiur Rahman and policymaking body member former MP Mia Golam Parwar, for five days in two cases.

The eight were arrested at Dhaka's Uttara on Monday night. Police said they met at a house to 'plan to create political anarchy'.

On Tuesday, Jamaat acting chief Mujibur Rahman denied the accusations and called a shutdown to protest their detainment."On Wednesday, I said we had not decided whether to support the shutdown. Today I have learned the party will do so," was BNP leader Rizvi's explanation over the delay.

The BNP leader said the charges were 'pre-planned', pointing to how the case was filed with the Kadamtali Police Station despite the arrest in Uttara."They have one goal - preventing opposition parties from carrying out any programs."

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