Published: Saturday, April 6, 2013

Tight security in capital

Cops, BGB ready to tackle situation

The government has deployed Border Guard Bangladesh, police and at least 10 mobile courts in Dhaka as city dwellers brace for Hefajat-e Islam’s rally at Shapla Chatter today.
Police sources said several closed-circuit cameras have also been installed at strategic places in the capital.
Hefajat had declared Dhaka long march for today, which is to culminate in a daylong rally at Shapla Chatter, demanding punishment of some bloggers for “defaming” Islam and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
At least 23 pro-liberation organisations declared a 24-hour countrywide hartal from 6:00pm yesterday to resist the long march. Gonojagoron Mancha called for a 22-hour transport blockade to resist Hefajat’s programme.
Traffic on the streets of the capital was very light yesterday as fear of possible mayhem loomed large.
An inter-ministerial meeting held at the home ministry yesterday reviewed law and order and decided not to slap a ban on the rally of Hefajat-e Islam, a Chittagong-based Islamist group.
Emerging from the meeting, State Minister for Home Shamsul Haque Tuku said, “We are closely monitoring law and order and have already arrested a good number of Jamaat-Shibir men from different parts of the country based on the intelligence that they were trying to commit criminal acts today [yesterday] on the eve of Hefajat-e Islam’s gathering.”
Jahangir Kabir Nanak, state minister for LGRD who also attended the meeting, said the Awami League activists at grassroots were cooperating with law enforcers so that militants and Jamaat-Shibir men could not blend into Hefajat-e Islam’s rally and create anarchy.
Police sources said several cameras had been installed — between Motijheel and Fakirerpool in the capital — to monitor the crowd and the rally and there would be 12,000 policemen ready to tackle any untoward incident.
The sources said people would be frisked at strategic points near the rally venue.
Inspector General of Police Hassan Mahmood Khandker told The Daily Star that the police had the experience, competence and capacity to handle such a programme.
Asked whether there was any threat of anarchy, he said his forces were ready for every eventuality.