Bangladesh bans political rallies for a month

Dhaka, May 19 (IANS) The Bangladesh government Sunday banned political rallies for one month, a step the opposition described as an attempt to mute dissenting voices.

“We’ll not allow political meetings and rallies for next one month across the country,” Xinhua quoted Home Minister M.K. Alamgir as saying.

Alamgir made the announcement in the sea port city of Chittagong, 240 km southeast of Dhaka.

Incidents of violence in recent months were the reasons behind the decision to ban rallies and meetings, the minister said.

Opposition leader and former prime minister Khaleda Zia’s Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) has warned the Sheikh Hasina government of waging tougher movements if the opposition is barred from holding rallies.

The BNP-led opposition has been demanding restoration of the non-party caretaker government system to oversee the next general elections slated for early 2014.

Alamgir said some groups with vested interests were hatching conspiracies to create anarchy in the country in the name of political meetings and rallies.

“That’s why we had to take this decision,” the minister said.

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