Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)- Police picked up many top BNP leaders including its acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir and Opposition Chief Whip Zainul Abdin Farroque from their party headquarters in the capital Dhaka on Monday evening.

The other detained leaders include former home minister Altaf Hossain Chowdhury, former Dhaka city corporation mayor Sadeque Hossain Khoka, BNP’s joint secretaries general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi Ahmed and Amanullah Aman and the party’s Dhaka city unit member secretary Abdus Salam.

The detentions came less than an hour after the BNP-led 18-party opposition alliance called a dawn-to-dusk nationwide general strike for Tuesday protesting attacks on its ‘peaceful rally by police and the ruling party cadres’.

A police team entered the BNP’s office around 6:00pm and picked up the opposition leaders and activists.

Earlier around 4:45pm, a rally was foiled after five cocktails went off at the Nightingale intersection, some yards from the venue in front of the Nayapaltan headquarters of the main opposition BNP.

A huge number of law enforcers including police, Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), and armed police had cordoned off the rally which started 4:15pm.

Mehedi Hasan, additional deputy commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (Motijheel), told reporters that they arrested the BNP men for deliberately creating an anarchic situation in the area. “They’ll be brought under the ambit of the law.” 

He said 10 crude bombs were seized from BNP office during the drive.

BBN/SSR/AD-11Mar13-9:01 pm (BST)