Dhaka, Jan 11 (IANS) Security measures have been ratcheted up once again around BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia’s office Sunday as thousands of devotees entered Dhaka after the Ijtema, gathering of Muslims.
Traffic movement around Road 86 of Gulshan, where Khaleda’s office is located, has been regulated by the police. Only the residents are allowed to criss-cross the street where police checkposts have been set up Sunday morning, bdnews24.com reported.
Ijtema, or Bishsho Istema in Bengali, is an annual Tablighi Jamaat Islamic movement congregation held at Tongi in Bangladesh by the Turag river. It is the world’s third largest Muslim congregation after the Arbaeen gathering in Kerbala, Iraq, and the Hajj in Saudi Arabia.
Police said the security measures are heightened so that nothing is left to chance as thousands of devotees are entering Dhaka after the Ijtema.
Khaleda Zia has been spending her days at the office since the night of Jan 3 after police surrounded it and stopped her from leaving the premises.
Failing to leave the offices to attend a party programme Jan 5, the former prime minister announced a countrywide nonstop blockade of highways, railways and waterways.
Riot police units were deployed along with regular police forces. They created a human-barrier on both sides of the main entrance.
Seven trucks loaded with sand and bricks are blocking both ends of the streets leading to Khaleda’s office.
Nurul Alam, assistant police commissioner, Gulshan, said, “Security was already there. Now it has been merely increased.”
However, a police official, on condition of anonymity said that the measures were taken in view of the hundreds of thousands of devotees entering Dhaka after the first phase of Ijtema in Tongi.
At her office, the BNP chairperson is accompanied by the party’s vice chairperson Selima Rahman, her advisor Abdul Kaiyum, special assistant Shamsur Rahman Shimul Biswas, press secretary Maruf Kamal Khan and her security coordinator Abdul Majid.