Opposition steps up stir against Bangladeshi PM

Monday, February 7, 2011

DHAKA - Bangladesh’s main opposition, which announced a further agitation against the government at the end of a day-long strike Monday, has been accused by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of “tricking” the economy and causing prices to rise.

Hasina told a meeting of her council of ministers that the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) led by her rival, Khaleda Zia, was behind the rising prices of essential commodities and the recent turmoil in the country’s stock exchanges.

The BNP, which observed a day-long strike, announced a fresh protest programme, including staging a rally at Muktangon, venue of many a political agitation, in the national capital Tuesday and countrywide demonstrations Wednesday.

BNP secretary general Khandaker Delwar Hossain alleged “mass arrests” of its leaders and activists during Monday’s nationwide dawn-to-dusk strike.

He claimed that more than 500 BNP activists were arrested across the country and at least 800 others were injured in police action, The Daily Star reported on its website.

The BNP had called for the strike after a case was filed against Zia for inciting protests against the government’s plan to build a new international airport at Muhshiganj, about 40 km from here.

The government withdrew its plan last week with Hasina saying that she was bowing to “the will of the people”.

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