A Bangladeshi court today issued arrest warrants against 67 BNP leaders and activists, including top aides of former prime minister Khaleda Zia, in a case related to last year's violent campaign spearheaded by the opposition party in which more than 100 people died.
"The court issued the warrant taking into cognizance a case against them under the (tough) Special Powers Act," an official of Metropolitan Sessions Judges Court said. Justice Kamrul Hossain Mollah passed the order after accepting the charges pressed against 93 people but issued the warrants against 67 people, including BNP's vice chairman and former minister Selima Rahman, Zia's press secretary Maruf Kamal Sohel and her special aide Shimul Biswas.
The court directed the police to submit a report on October 10 on the execution of the warrants. Legal experts, however, said the accused might seek the reversal of the order by a High Court.
Police earlier said that the 67 people were accused of attacking and damaging buses and cars and obstructing police in discharging duties in a particular incident at Mugda area of the capital in February last year. More than 100 people died in arson attacks on vehicles.
The BNP-led four-party alliance boycotted the January 2014 general elections, saying polls with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's government in power would not be credible. And the main opposition party outside the Parliament waged a protracted and violent street campaign, coinciding with the first anniversary of the second consecutive term of the incumbent regime.
BNP and its right-wing allies had enforced a nationwide blockade last year. Zia and 50 other leaders and activists of her party were charged earlier in a Dhaka court in two cases over the violence. Police accused her of instigating party activists to torch buses and trigger explosions.