DHAKA, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) — Bangladesh police have given conditional permission to a convention of pro-opposition professionals easing tension over the reinstatement of caretaker government to oversee general elections.
Fears of violence grew as the main opposition reportedly decided to defy the ban on rally and hold their scheduled convention despite police cordoned off the venue.
The police imposed the ban on meetings, processions and rallies in capital Dhaka from Sunday morning, a step the opposition described as an attempt to mute dissenting voices.
Five days ahead of an anti-government rally to demand a non- party caretaker system, Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Saturday slapped the ban for an indefinite period from 6:00 a.m. local time Sunday.
Shortly after giving permission at about 1:00 p.m. local time Sunday, police lifted cordon around the convention venue.
“We’ve set 14 conditions for issuing permission to holding the convention,” Deputy Commissioner of the DMP Masudur Rahman told Xinhua.
He said the key conditions included the convention finish time, its exact boundary and limited use of loudspeakers.
Former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia will address the convention which is scheduled to begin at 2:00 p.m. local time in the city’s Bangabandhu International Convention Center.
In protest against the ban, the main opposition BNP Saturday night announced that it will stage demonstrations and rallies at all district headquarters Sunday.
BNP has asked Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s ruling Bangladesh Awami League to bring back the caretaker system, or else it won’t participate in the next polls slated for early 2014 because it fears an election without the caretaker government will not be free and fair.
Since June 2011 when Bangladesh Parliament abolished the non- party caretaker government system after an apex court verdict declared the 15-year-old constitutional provision illegal, the BNP- led 18-party opposition alliance has been waging mass protests pushing for the reinstatement of the provision.
The scrapped provision mandated an elected government to transfer power to a non-partisan caretaker administration to oversee a new parliamentary election.