Small pandals with curtains were built near the meeting place on the grounds of the Aliya Madrasa, above which were banners reading “camp”.
Nov 18, 2022 at 10:50 am
Last modified: November 18, 2022, 11:24 am
Activists from the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) live in camps set up in Sylhet’s Chowhatta neighborhood ahead of the political party’s divisional rally on Saturday (19 November).
Small pandals with curtains were erected near the meeting place on the grounds of the Aliya Madrasa, with banners reading “Camp” above them.
BNP leaders said activists from different regions had come to Sylhet earlier due to various obstacles, including transport strikes. These camps were built for them. Separate camps are set up for different chapters of the BNP.
The leaders and activists who came earlier live in these camps. Provisions are also made for catering in these camps.
On Thursday evening (November 17) BNP leaders and activists could be seen roaming the grounds while food was being cooked for them on the premises.
“Many of our leaders and activists have already reached Sylhet. Here they rest and eat,” said GK Gaus, joint convener of BNP in Habiganj district and former mayor.
At the entrance to the field sit two vendors with badges and coat pins bearing the BNP logo and symbols.
One of them, Mamun Khan, came from Shariatpur. “I have been selling coat pins and badges at rallies in Faridpur, Khulna and Barishal. I’m traveling across the country not just for business, but for the love of partying,” he said.
He said sales are good too.
A few small stalls were set up on the grounds of the Aliya Madrasa.
Water bottles are stacked in a stall. Anyone who comes to the field can get water there for free.
Moulvibazar District BNP Vice-President Regina Nasir has made an arrangement to distribute free water to activists. She is the daughter-in-law of the late former Finance Minister M Saifur Rahman. Her husband Naser Rahman is the President of the Moulvibazar District BNP.
As of Thursday afternoon, the crowd of leaders and activists gathered at the gathering place, the crowd continued to grow over time.
BNP Local Committee members and key leaders including Moin Khan visited the site. BNP leaders from Sylhet District and the metropolitan area were also present.
“A stage 70 feet long and 30 feet wide will be built for the rally in Sylhet. Stage construction is almost complete,” said Abdul Qayyum Chowdhury, the President of Sylhet District BNP.
“The government is trying to suppress the gathering in various ways. A transport strike was also called. So many activists came earlier. Camps are set up in the fields where they can rest and eat. Each camp can accommodate 450 to 500 people. However, these camps will be demolished to make way for the people who came to the rally on Saturday,” he added.
The BNP is holding mass meetings in all division cities across the country as part of the central program to protest the rise in the price of basic necessities such as rice, legumes, fuel oil, gas, electricity and fertilizers and to demand the unconditional release of BNP leaders Begum Khaleda Zia and the dropping of the case against the party’s incumbent leader, Tarique Rahman.
In continuation, the party will hold a rally in Sylhet on Saturday. BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir will speak as the main guest.
Many BNP activists come to Sylhet by trawlers and boats
Many BNP activists are coming to Sylhet from Sunamganj by trawlers and boats to join the rally.
The Transport Owners and Workers’ Association of Sunamganj District called a 36-hour strike on Thursday.
The strike will continue from Friday 6:00 a.m. to Saturday 6:00 p.m. Faced with this, BNP leaders and activists not only come to Sylhet by road, but also use the waterways.
Sunamganj BNP leaders said 50,000 activists from the district will attend the rally.
Sunamganj district BNP President Kalim Uddin said the strike was called to prevent the rally.
“The government cannot prevent us from going to the rally with a strike. 50,000 activists will drive from Sunamganj to Sylhet to make the rally successful. Meanwhile, the leaders and activists of various upazilas of the district have left for Sylhet by trawlers and boats,” he added.
On the way to the town’s Baithakhali and Saheb Bari Ghat, the activists were seen heading to Sylhet in motor-driven boats with steel bodies and grains of rice in their hands.
BNP district leader Rakab Uddin said these activists will reach Sylhet today.
“BNP leaders and workers from Durgam Tahirpur, Dharmapasha, Madhyanagar Upazila have started their journey by boat to make the Sylhet rally a success. Today they will reach Sylhet,” he said.
Dewan Zainul Zakerin, senior vice president of BNP in Sunamganj district, said: “We are using different strategies to make the Sylhet rally successful.
“Today we will start a peaceful journey to Sylhet with seven to eight thousand motorcycles. If the police block the road, we will fight back and join the rally,” said Advocate Nurul Islam Nurul, general secretary of BNP Sunamganj district.