Around 300 held ahead of Oppn's protests in Dhaka
The 14-party Opposition alliance led by Sheikh Hasina Wajed plans to paralyse Dhaka by blocking all roads, rail and river ways on June 11.india Updated: Jun 09, 2006 14:12 IST
Around 300 people have been arrested in Bangladesh ahead of the opposition parties' plan to lay siege to the capital to demand that Prime Minister Khaleda Zia's government step down.
Opposition leaders on Friday claimed people belonging to their political parties have been arrested en masse as they called for protests against the government.
"On an average 200 to 300 people are being detained without assigning any reason or taken in some pending old cases," an Opposition source said.
Media reports said 264 people were arrested since Thursday from the capital Dhaka.
The 14-party Opposition alliance led by former prime minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed plans to paralyse Dhaka by blocking all roads, rail and river ways on Sunday.
A police statement showed a maximum of 316 people were taken in last Wednesday on specific charges.
However, Law Minister Moudud Ahmed said arrests have taken place under Section 54, but denied that was linked to the Opposition action plan.
The Section 54 is randomly used by Bangladesh police to detain people on suspicion.
Twelve rights bodies have condemned the alleged "mass arrests" ahead of the opposition plan, saying such police action violated fundamental rights of the people guaranteed in the Constitution.
The 12 demanded immediate release of the detainees arrested since May 29 and also reasonable explanation against the arrests from the police authorities.