Bangladesh authorities arrest 300 dissenters

June 1st, 2008 - 2:24 pm ICT by admin  

Dhaka, June 1 (DPA) At least 300 people have been arrested in Bangladesh as the interim government launched a crackdown on opposition political activists Sunday ahead of a move to relax the current state of emergency. Opposition sources said the detainees were mostly grassroots activists including local leaders of the Awami League and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, the country’s two main opposition camps.

The nationwide crackdown was led by a joint force of the army, the elite rapid action battalion and the paramilitary border guards, officials said.

“The campaign is targeted against listed criminals and extortionists,” Inspector General of Police Noor Muhammad said .

He also rejected the allegations that people were being arrested on political grounds.

A state of emergency was enforced in January 2007 at the height of political turmoil which pushed the country to the brink of a civil war.

The army-backed interim government hinted at withdrawing soon several provisions of the emergency rule permitting open political activities restricted for more than a year.

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