BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia has left Chittagong as a BNP delegation makes its way to the Rohingya refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar.
She is accompanied by senior BNP leaders, including party Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, Vice Chairman Shamsuzzaman Dudu, BNP Standing Committee members Khandker Mosharraaf Hossain and Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury. Women’s Affairs Secretary Noor-e Ara Safa is travelling with Khaleda in the same vehicle.
The convoy of about 150 cars will travel through Chandnaish, Satkania, Lohagara and Ramu before arriving in Cox’s Bazar, BNP leaders said.
The BNP delegation left Dhaka on Saturday morning. It had planned to stop for a rest at Feni that afternoon.
Before entering Feni the motorcade came under attack from a group of men. Khaleda’s car passed unharmed but at least 30 vehicles, mostly belonging to the media, were vandalised. Some journalists were attacked and beaten even after identifying themselves.
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul said the attackers had been identified as ‘known goons’ of the ruling Awami League, or its student or youth branch.
Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader denied his party’s involvement in the attack, suggesting the BNP had ‘staged’ the incident to garner attention for Khaleda’s visit to the camps.
The BNP plans to distribute aid among 10,000 Rohingya families, said Fakhrul. The amount of the relief was not specified.
Over 600,000 Rohingya refugees have crossed the border into Bangladesh since the start of a military crackdown in Myanmar’s Rakhine on Aug 25
A BNP delegation carrying 22 trucks of aid for refugees fleeing violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine to Cox’s Bazar was barred from doing so in mid-September.
The ruling Awami League had justified the situation saying that a decision had not been taken on whether to distribute aid through the district administration, according to the ‘rules’.
After her trip to the camps, Khaleda will spend Monday night at the Chittagong Circuit House and set off the next day for Dhaka.
She had also visited Cox’s Bazar in 2012 after the attack and vandalism of the Ramu Buddhist temple in Cox’s Bazar