Khaleda barred from going out again

Staff Correspondent

Opposition leader Khaleda Zia virtually remained in confinement in her Gulshan house as the police prevented her from going out to join the ‘march for democracy’ programme for the second straight day on Monday.
Police picked up former minister Selima Rahman, lawmaker Rasheda Begum Hira and former lawmaker Halima Newaz Arali from in front of the house when they went there to meet the opposition leader. The three were released two hours later after they gave undertaking that they would not go there again.
Newsmen gathered on the road in front of Khaleda’s residence but police did not allow them to move closer to the house on road 79 at Gulshan. The police said the measure was taken for security in the area where several foreign missions were located.
Amid heavy police cordon, Khaleda got into her Nissan Patrol SUV around 4:40pm in an attempt to go out but police did not allow opening of the main gate and formed a three-layer cordon.
The chief of chairperson’s security force, the BNP chief’s personal security, retired colonel Abdul Mazid said Khaleda had taken preparations for going out around 2:30pm and got into her car around 4:40pm but police did not allow it to move.
Aroud 5:00pm, BNP vice-chairman Shamsher Mobin Chowdhury and two of the party chief’s advisers, Reaz Rahman and Sabihuddin Ahmed, entered the house without police obstruction. Minutes later, British high commissioner Robert W Gibson entered the house. It was for the first time since Saturday that any persons could meet Khaleda.
Gibson came out of the house around 6:45pm and hurriedly left through the eastern side of the house declining to talk to the media.
Police picked up Shamsher Mobin after he came out of the house. Few minutes after his exit from the house Shamsher told New Age over mobile that police were taking him to an unknown place. ‘I am not sure where they are taking me,’ he said.
Earlier on Saturday night, police kept five sand-laden trucks across the street on both sides of Khaleda’s house and later claimed that the trucks went out of order and they could not be removed from there. But the staff of the trucks said police had brought them from Amin Bazar and ordered them to stay there.
Like Sunday, there was heavy deployment of forces around the house with 10 platoons of police and two platoons of Rapid Action Battalion. Water-cannons have been mobilised alongside the barricades placed on the streets leading to the house on road 79.
Gulshan police officer-in-charge Rafiqul Islam said that eight platoons of police had been posted since Saturday night for security of the opposition leader and it was reinforced on Monday.
The deputy commissioner of Gulshan zone of Dhaka Metropolitan Police, Lutful Kabir, in the morning forced newsmen to move to the other side of Gulshan Avenue and asked them to cover the events from there. Asked about the reason, he shot back, ‘Is it always possible to explain the reasons?’
A few newsmen on Sunday managed to enter the lawn of the house scaling the boundary walls as nine platoons of police kept the house cordoned off allowing no one in. Khaleda had told them that the opposition’s ‘march for democracy’ would continue. ‘Our programme will continue into tomorrow, even the day after tomorrow … We will see how far you [government] can go, how many people you [government] can kill,’ she said after trying in vain to go out of her house.
She had also said, ‘This government is illegal and undemocratic. It should leave office if it has any sense of dignity.’

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