12,000 held in crack down against criminals in B'desh
Bangladesh's caretaker government in a massive country-wide crackdown arrested at least 12,000 people prompting scores of 'Godfathers' and political leaders to go underground since last weeks proclamation of the state of emergency, reports said on Saturday.
The security forces have arrested a number of senior leaders of both Awami League and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) in southeastern port city of Chittagong.
Over a dozen leaders of the student wings of Awami League and BNP have also been arrested in the past two days.
Paramilitary Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) and the coastguard have been put on high-alert to prevent criminals from fleeing the country.
The security personnel from the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) were engaged in looking for Giasuddin Al Mamun, an influential business partner of former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia's son Tarique Rahman, Prothom Alo newspaper said on Saturday.
The BNP has advised its leaders and activists to take cover to avert arrest, the Daily Star said.
The report quoting an anonymous party source said the BNP might opt out of the election if the crackdown eventually turns unfavourable while Awami League earlier said they would closely monitor the actions of the interim government.
Meanwhile, both Awami League and BNP in a rare unity flayed Nobel laureate Bangladeshi economist Mohammad Yunus as he last week in harsh criticism of politicians had said they were in politics only for money.