Senior Correspondent, bdnews24.com
Published: 2017-07-14 02:31:02 BdST
The politicians included Bikalpadhara chief AQM Badruddoza Chowdhury, Krishak Sramik Janata League (KSJL) chief Kader Siddiqui and Nagorik Oikyo Convener Mahmudur Rahman Manna.
The politicians had gathered at Rab's house in northern Dhaka on Thursday night. JSD leaders have described the assembly of the politicians as a normal 'gathering over tea'.
The other attendees included Biplabi Workers Party chief Saiful Haque, Ganaforum presidium members Subrata Chowdhury and AOM Shafiullah, Bangladesher Samajtantrik Dal (BaSaD) General Secretary Khalekuzzaman and leader Bazlur Rashid Firoz, JSD General Secretary Abdul Malek Ratan, Bikalpadhara Joint Secretary General Mahi B Chowdhury and General Secretary of citizens' platform 'Sujon' Badiul Alam Majumder.
Majumder told bdnews24.com that he went to Rab's home around 8pm on invitation. But everyone left around 11pm following dinner after the police arrived.
"I was surprised when the police suddenly barged in. This was a social event. The police came and said permission was a prerequisite for holding such meeting and they needed to be informed beforehand."
He claimed this event was a post-Eid gathering. "I never thought I would face this kind of situation at this event."
Identifying himself as a JSD assistant secretary, one Jewel told reporters that plainclothesmen had surrounded Rab's house immediately after the guests gathered at 8pm.
One of the politicians who attended the programme said, "This was just a simple tea party. As politicians attended it, politics and the country's state were obviously discussed.
"We also discussed the floods, waterlogging in the capital, law and order, enforced disappearances, murders, extrajudicial killings and the Farhad Mazhar abduction among other issues."
No police officer agreed to comment on invading the 'tea party'.
Rab, who was close to military ruler HM Ershad and later a minister in Sheikh Hasina's 1996 cabinet, former BNP leader Badruddoza and former Awami League leader Kader Siddiqui had led their own parties to boycott the 2014 general election.
They later formed National Democratic Front (NDF). The BNP had stayed away from that election too.
For the past few years, they have been speaking about forming an 'alternative political force' outside the ruling Awami League or the BNP.
Manna, who is now active with Nagorik Oikyo after his stints as a leader at Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JaSaD) and Awami League, has also been voicing support for them.
Khalekuzzaman's BaSaD is also in an alliance with the Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) while Saiful Haque's Biplabi Workers Party is in the 'Ganatantrik Bam Morcha', an alliance of leftist parties.