Police Club BNP Protesters
Saturday, 13 November 2010

The police have charged baton to disperse BNP demonstrators from Dhaka Cantonment's Jahangir Gate.

Traffic was halted for some time on the Old Airport Road due to the police action around 12.30pm on Saturday.

Chases and counter-chases took place between opposition activists and law enforcers as the police pushed demonstrators towards Mohakhali. However, a number of opposition leaders including opposition chief whip Zainul Abdin Farroque are still at the cantonment gate.

Hundred of BNP leaders and activists gathered at the gate from Saturday morning hearing the news of the government move to evict their chairperson from her cantonment residence.

Meanwhile, the military's public relations department ISPR said that there were 61 unapproved persons at the residence, who have left. A temporary ISPR camp set up at an under-construction building outside Jahangir Gate also said that the process of vacating the premises is continuing.

Meanwhile, a BNP leader has claimed that officials of the Cantonment Board are talking with the opposition leader at the residence.

bdnews24.com correspondent reports that he saw a number of army jeeps and pick-ups in front of the 6 Shaheed Moinul Road residence while crossing the residence around 11am. Some of the furniture and goods have been loaded onto them as law enforcers have been deployed in front of the building.

Sanaullah Miah, one of Khaleda's top lawyers, told journalists around 11.30 after a visit to the premises, "Everyone, including security officials, have been withdrawn from the residence. RAB and Police personnel have cordoned the building off."

The 2.72-acre plot was originally the official residence of the army's deputy chief of staff, a position held by Ziaur Rahman, who later became army chief and then military ruler.

Former military dictator H M Ershad, who later became president, allotted the house to Khaleda and her two sons following the assassination of Ziaur Rahman, in a military coup on May 30 in 1981.

His widow Khaleda was given another house in Gulshan in addition to the cantonment house, where the family had been living since the 1970s.

The Directorate of Military Lands and Cantonments handed a notice on Apr 20 last year asking the BNP chief to vacate her cantonment residence.

Khaleda filed a petition with the High Court challenging legality of the government notice asking her to leave the house within 15 days.

The government maintained its stand with two separate notices on May 7 and May 24.

On May 27 last year, the court stayed the notices for three months after the initial hearing.

The final hearing started on June 6 the same year. On Aug 23, the court asked the government to submit all files in relation to the lease of the cantonment house.

The government gave a legal notice to Khaleda for a number of anomalies regarding the allotment within the military zone.

The allegations and irregularities for which the notice was issued include 1) Khaleda has been carrying out political activities from the house – which goes against a condition of the allotment 2) One cannot get allotment of two government houses in the capital 3) A civilian cannot get a resident lease within a cantonment.

The government also alleged that unauthorised changes and extensions were made to the building violating the code of conduct in the military area.

Source: bdnews24.com

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