Bangladesh opposition leader and former prime minister Khaleda Zia
has cancelled her meeting with visiting Indian President Pranab
Mukherjee citing security concerns amid a strike called by a
former party ally, Jamaat-e-Islami.
Zia, who had called on Mukherjee when she visited India last
October, was scheduled to meet the Indian president Monday.
However, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chairperson has
cancelled the meeting.
BNP Vice Chairman Shamsher Mobin Chowdhury Sunday informed the
Indian High Commission here about the cancellation, said a party
spokesperson. "There are security issues during the strike."
The Jamaat has called a two-day strike, March 3 and 4, to protest
the conviction of JI leader Delwar Hossain Sayedee for the 1971
war crimes, including rape and genocide.
Nearly 60 people have been killed so far, including 14 on Sunday,
in clashes between the police and Jamaat supporters, including its
student wing, Islami Chhatra Shibir.
"The courtesy call is scheduled to be held at a time when the
Jamaat is enforcing a shutdown," Chowdhury said. "We have informed
the Indian High Commission that Khaleda will not be able to reach
Sonargaon Hotel due to security reasons."
The BNP has called a strike on March 5, the last day of the
Mukherjee arrived in Bangladesh to a red-carpet welcome and 21-gun
salute on his first trip abroad as India's head of state.
He was received by President Zillur Rahman at the Hazrat Shahjalal
The Indian president is accompanied by his wife Suvra Mukherjee
and an official delegation, including Minister of State for
Railways Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai
and four MPs.
Zia's BNP heads a coalition of 18 opposition parties which is
enforcing the strike to demand that a caretaker government be
formed before the next national elections due in 2014. The
coalition includes the Jamaat and smaller Islamic parties.
A coalition of 18 opposition parties is enforcing the strike to
demand that a caretaker government be formed before the next
national elections due in 2014. Zia's BNP heads the coalition,
which includes the Jamaat-e-Islami and smaller Islamic parties.
(Ranjana Narayan can be contacted at email@example.com)