Monday, March 19, 2018
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Bangladesh politician arrested for 'Israel handshake'

Opposition BNP official who met Israeli government adviser in India held after being accused of plotting against state.

Bangladesh police have arrested a senior official from the main opposition party and accused him of plotting against the state following his meeting with an Israeli political adviser in India.

Aslam Chowdhury, Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) joint secretary general, was arrested on Sunday after local media reported that he had met an Israeli government adviser in India in March.

"We have arrested Chowdhury for allegedly plotting conspiracies against the government by personally meeting an Israeli politician abroad," Abdul Baten, detective police commissioner, said.

Maruf Hossain Sorder, the Dhaka police spokesman, said officers were preparing to file a criminal case against him.

Sheikh Hasina's government has been increasingly cracking down on political opponents, amid a wave of killings of secular bloggers and activists.

READ MORE: Bangladesh - Arrest warrant issued for former PM

Chowdhury, a businessman from the southern city of Chittagong, has denied plotting against the government, saying that he met the Israeli political adviser during a "personal business trip" to India.

Bangladesh has no diplomatic ties with Israel and Bangladeshis are banned from travelling to the country.

The arrest is the latest against the BNP. Khaleda Zia, the party leader and former prime minister, was last week charged with masterminding arson attacks during anti-government protests last year, the latest in a string of charges that she says are politically motivated.

Bangladesh has been hit by a political crisis since the BNP and other opposition parties boycotted the general election in 2014.

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