Security stepped up amid fears of violence in B'desh

Security has been beefed up in the Bangladeshi capital today ahead of the anti-government general strike called by the main opposition BNP, amid fears of violence as the supporters of the ruling Awami League plan to thwart the day-long shutdown tomorrow.
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Updated on Jun 27, 2010 09:12 AM IST
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PTI | By, Dhaka

Security has been beefed up in the Bangladeshi capital today ahead of the anti-government general strike called by the main opposition BNP, amid fears of violence as the supporters of the ruling Awami League plan to thwart the day-long shutdown on Monday.

Bangladesh Nationalist Party has announced a nationwide anti-government general strike tomorrow to oppose the ruling coalition's policies, including "compromising national interests" by inking deals with India earlier this year.

Former prime minister Khaleda Zia, the chief of the BNP, announced the anti-government campaign on May 19 for "compromising national interests” by signing deals with India during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s New Delhi tour in January, oppose "tender-grabbing and extortions by government cronies” and deteriorating utility services in the country.

The authorities and the supporters of the Awami League have said they were determined to crackdown on those creating "anarchy and disorder" in the country.

Dhaka metropolitan police has banned processions on the main roads in the capital and stepped up security to prevent any violence.

Dhaka’s police chief AKM Shahidul Haque told mediapersons that an additional 10,000 force will be deployed in the capital to maintain order.

He said police would not prevent the BNP from its planned strike, but actions would be taken if they try to create anarchy by vandalising vehicles or setting those on fire.

Pro-government Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) today announced that it would thwart the dawn-to-dusk general strike of BNP, triggering fears of violent clashes.

"So BCL will be on the field to prevent the strike by any means," Mahmud Hasan Ripon, the BCL president, was quoted as saying by the bdnews24 online.

He expressed fears that the radical Islamist groups, including 'Jamaat-Shibir' could take advantage of the strike to create chaos in a bid to halt the trial of the war criminals accused of genocide during the 1971 'Liberation War'.

He asked the leaders and activists of BCL to stay on the alert tomorrow.

Law Minister Qamrul Islam told reporters yesterday that the government had no plans to confront the protesters, but warned: "We will not tolerate anarchy or disorder during the hartal".

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