Government clarifies Motijheel drive

The government on Friday issued a press note giving its version on the forceful eviction of the members of the hard-line Hifazat-e Islam on the night of May 5 amid rumours about casualties and opposition’s demand for clarification.

Published : 10 May 2013, 08:16 AM
Updated : 10 May 2013, 08:16 AM

The home ministry statement said there was no alternative to flushing out the Hifazat activists to prevent further chaos and ensure public safety following the mayhem at the capital’s Paltan, Baitul Mukarram and surrounding areas.

It also rubbished as ‘false and motivated’ the opposition claims of ‘thousands of people’ being killed in the 15-minute drive.

The government said Hifazat had not been permitted to stage the rally at Motijheel’s Shapla Chattar during the night and it unleashed a wave of violence after the end of the allotted time.

The media statement also shed lights on the Awami League’s repeated calls to the Chittagong-based organisation to leave Dhaka before the evening of that day amid unprecedented looting and torching in the areas.

“The leaders of the Hifazat did not respond to the calls and rather continued to stage a sit-in there breaking the law,” it added.

“The Dhaka Metropolitan Police, RAB and BGB personnel conducted the drive at around 2am (Monday) after they were left with no other option,” it added.
The ministry said law enforcers did not use lethal weapons in the drive and referred to the repeated calls they had made for the Hifazat supporters to evacuate the spot.
Police said there were ‘zero casualties’ in the early morning drive adding that 11 people had however died during the daylong carnage unleashed around the rally venue.
The BNP that had protested the crackdown by calling a two-day long strike has sought a “press note” from the government.