Activists of Bangladesh Chhatra League and Jubo League have allegedly attacked a long march by anti-rape protesters in Feni.
At least 15 people were injured and six vehicles vandalised during the attack.
The injured include Md Hridoy, Asmani Asha, Anika, Shahadat and Jawad. Names of the rest of the injured could not be confirmed. They received treatment at different hospitals of Feni.
Three journalists were also injured at the attack.
Around 400 demonstrators on Friday started the long-march from Dhaka to Noakhali's Begumganj upazila protesting the growing incidents of rape, sexual harassment and violence against women across the country in recent times.
Witnesses and activists of the long march said, pro-left student bodies organised a rally at Feni Shaheed Minar premises protesting incident of rape and violence against women on Saturday morning.
BCL and Jubo League activists, in presence of the police, swooped on the anti-rape protesters at Cumilla Bus Stand area when they were getting on the bus after holding a peaceful rally in Feni. The attack leaves 15 activists of anti-rape injured and six buses carrying them vendalised.
Samajtantrik Chhatra Front’s central president Masud Rana alleged that the activists who were waiting at Dagonbhuiyan upazila of Feni to welcome the long march were also attacked. After the attack there, the activists cancelled the street rally and moved towards Noakhali.
Asked about the attack on the long march, Feni sadar upazila Awami League’s general secretary Shushen Chandra Sheel told Prothom Alo that he had learnt that no activists of BCL or Jubo League were involved in the attack.
The AL leader claimed that the participants of the long march programme were holding offensive placards with pictures of prime minister Sheikh Hasina and local lawmaker Nizam Uddin Hazari and making some provocative remarks which angered the local people.
A scuffle broke out as a result of the provocation, he claimed.
Feni’s additional superintendent of police Mainul Islam said supporters of local MP were enraged as the long march activists were carrying some placards where derogatory comments were inscribed against the MP. Later, chase and counter chase ensued between followers of the lawmaker and protesters.
The police helped the long march activists move towards Noakhali, the police officer added.