Hotels clear up as crackdown looks for ‘outsiders’

Courtesy/News Source: thedailystar.net

The number of boarders at residential hotels in the capital has dropped significantly, following a police crackdown to arrest outsiders ahead of February 1 Dhaka city corporation elections.

Staffers of several hotels in Mohakhali, Banani and Tejgaon yesterday told The Daily Star some 70 percent of their rooms fell vacant since yesterday morning.

“Many guests from outside the capital said they would come back after the election,” said manager of a hotel in Tejgaon rail gate area, wishing anonymity.

He said police visited the hotel on Tuesday, and wanted to know whether anyone came there for “election purposes”.

Though in a small scale, law enforcers started a crackdown from Tuesday last to arrest “outsiders” who came to the city “without any reason”, sources said.

Meanwhile, Director General of Rab Benazir Ahmed yesterday called upon people who are not voters of Dhaka city to leave the capital.

During a press briefing at the Rab media centre in the capital’s Karwan Bazar, the Rab chief asked city dwellers to carry photo ID cards while leaving their homes.

“Many relatives of candidates took part in the election campaign held amid fanfare. Thank you very much. We expect you now to leave Dhaka. Unnecessary visit to Dhaka is being discouraged,” the Rab DG said.

Asked whether Rab will take any punitive action if anyone does not leave Dhaka, the Rab chief said it is not Rab’s objective to keep anyone to jail. What law enforcing agencies want is to ensure that voters can cast their votes without any problems.

“There is no problem in coming for emergency activities, medical treatment, job interview or travelling abroad,” Benazir added.

Five capital-based Rab battalions and the elite force’s bomb disposal unit and dog squad started working from yesterday in the city, and will be on duty till the day after the election.

Besides, checkpoints will be set up at different important points and entries to the capital, while 129 mobile courts will be in operation.  

Meanwhile, Additional Commissioner (DB) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police Abdul Baten yesterday said, “Police are conducting drives only to arrest illegal arms carriers, and those who can create violence in the election,” adding that no innocent person would be harassed.

Asked about BNP’s claim that the drive is meant to arrest and harass BNP leaders and activists, Baten said it was not their concern to see who belongs to which party, or what any leader of a political party says.

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