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Saturday, November 10, 2012
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Khaleda to visit Ramu temples today

BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia will visit the Buddhist temples and localities of Ramu this afternoon, 40 days after those were ravaged in attacks.

The leader of the opposition in parliament started her journey by road around 4:00pm yesterday from her Gulshan residence and arrived in Chittagong around midnight.

The party's senior leaders including standing committee member Moudud Ahmed and acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir are accompanying the former premier.

Earlier on October 8, Prime Minster Sheikh Hasina visited Ramu and held the local BNP lawmaker responsible for the attacks in Ramu on September 29.

Meanwhile, hundreds of leaders and activists of the BNP with placards and banners in hands greeted Khaleda on her way to Chittagong standing on both sides of Dhaka-Chittagong highway at Jatrabari, Kanchpur, Narayanganj, Comilla, Feni and Chittagong.

After reaching the port city, Khaleda talked to senior BNP leaders of Chittagong at the local Circuit House where she was staying over.

During the two-day visit, she will address a roadside rally at Chakoria upazila this morning.

Khaleda will reach Ramu in the afternoon when she is set to visit the affected temples and localities of the upazila and address an amity rally there.

She will stay over at Cox's Bazar Circuit House today, and tomorrow she will go to Ukhia upazila and address a rally there before she starts for Dhaka the same day.

Earlier on October 10, narrating the violent attacks on them, Buddhist leaders at a meeting with Khaleda at her Gulshan office invited her to visit the violence-hit areas to witness the atrocities herself.

On the night of September 29, a mob destroyed 18 Buddhist temples and monasteries and more than 50 houses in Ramu. The violence was apparently triggered by a Facebook photo defaming the holy Quran.

Several hundreds of Buddha statues were also looted from different temples and monasteries during the mayhem.

The next day, some miscreants vandalised two monasteries and a Hindu temple in Patiya upazila of Chittagong and torched two monasteries at Ukhia and five houses at Teknaf upazila in Cox's Bazar.

Chaos in Feni

Fifteen minutes after the BNP chairperson left Feni Circuit House last night, homemade bombs exploded there injuring at least 10 people including two policemen.

Officer-in-Charge Mainul Afsar of Feni Police Station told The Daily Star that members of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal and Jatiyatabadi Juba Dal locked in a scuffle on the Circuit House premises when four bombs exploded.

Witnesses said the scuffle was over who would give a reception to Khaleda.

The injured policemen were Sub-Inspector Nazimuddin, 32, and constable Haradhan, 46.

The names of the injured rest could not be known immediately.

BNP's Office Secretary Rizvi Ahmed, however, termed the incident a result of the government's conspiracy.

In a press conference held at the party's central office at Naya Paltan, he claimed that the government was trying to take the life of the BNP chief to suppress the nationalism spirit.

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