The Gulshan office that has been Khaleda Zia’s residence for a month now during an opposition led nationwide pro-democracy blockade campaign has been experiencing a power cut, an aide stated early Saturday.
Shamsuddin Didar, a BNP media wing member, told that “there’s been no electricity since 2:37am” and asserted that it was a deliberate act by the authorities. “They’ve cut the line,” he said.
The power cut comes hard on the heels of Awami League Shipping Minister Shahjahan Khan’s statements at a meeting earlier on Friday threatening to cut Zia’s power, water and food supply so that she “will starve to death”.
Khaleda Zia has been staying in the house on Road 86, Gulshan-2, in the heart of Dhaka since Jan 3 midnight. The house, owned by the family of a former BNP MP, serves as the office of the BNP chairperson. She was barricaded in the office by authorities on Jan 3 for over a fortnight before the police and trucks used to blockade her were removed. Following removal, Zia opted to remain in the premises, conducting her blockade movement from within.
BNP spokesperson and Joint Secretary Ruhul Kabir Rizvi was also arrested by RAB early Saturday morning, joining thousands of other opposition leaders and activists who have been arrested this month.
The nearly four-week-long blockade which Zia launched early this month has been bolstered with calls for general strikes. The latest strike call, made on Friday by Rizvi, would enforce complete Bangladesh-wide shutdown starting Sunday.
The current countrywide opposition blockade programme commenced on January 5 on the first anniversary of the controversial 2014 general elections which was marred by low voter turnout, opposition boycott due to absence of a neutral caretaker government to oversee fair polls and political violence. The BNP along with its opposition allies including Jamaat-e-Islami are demanding the resignation of the current Awami League government and fresh polls under a neutral caretaker government.
The following clip shows the moment Rizvi was arrested: