As many as 114 BNP leaders and activists have been accused in a case filed with the Khilkhet police station in the capital over torching a bus.
According to the case statement, the accused vandalised the bus windows by hurling petrol bombs aimed at killing the staff of the bus.
However, Dulal Hawladar, whose name is mentioned in the case as the plaintiff, claimed he did not file the case. He also does not know the accused. Khilkhet police station has done everything.
Dulal Hawladar's minibus (Dhaka Metro Ba 11-7336) was parked at the entrance of Kuril Flyover at around 8:30pm on Thursday. Unidentified people torched the bus and fled away.
I did not see anybody and I don't know anyone. I was not at the spot. The driver and the assistant were present. They do not know anybody. I can't say what police are doing and who they are arresting and interrogatingBus owner Dulal Hawladar
According to police, some 11 buses were torched at different parts in the capital since noon to 8:30pm on Thursday.
In connection with these incidents, some 11 cases were filed with eight police stations in the capital and leaders and activists of BNP and its associate bodies were made accused.
Except the case with Khilkhet police station, police are the plaintiffs in other ten cases. Moreover, two more cases were filed in two police stations on charges of obstructing police in their duties and vandalising vehicles.
Prothom Alo obtained a copy of the statement of the case filed with Khilkhet police station. In this case, BNP candidate of Dhaka-18 bye-election, Jahangir Hossain, has been made the prime accused. He is the president of Dhaka Metropolitan North unit Jubo Dal, the youth front of BNP.
Some 114 names have been mentioned in the case. Of them, the party posts, addresses and fathers' names of the accused from one to 21 have been mentioned. In the case of 93 accused, only their names have been given, also mentioning that they are BNP members of Ward No 43.
Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) organised a demonstration demanding the cancellation of the bye-election results of Dhaka-18 and Sirajganj-1 constituencies and protesting against the arrest of leaders and activists in false cases.
While contacted over phone, Dulal Hawlader described the incident. He is from Ujirpur of Barishal. He lives with his family at Kuril in Dhaka. He is with transport business for nine years. The bus, which was torched on Thursday, was on rent as a staff bus of an RMG factory.
Speaking to Prothom Alo, Dulal Hawladar said the driver and the assistant parked the minibus beside the road and got down. At the time, three persons arrived and from the left, they lit a petrol-filled bottle and threw it inside the bus through the window. The driver and his assistant noticed the incident. As they arrived, the persons ran and got into a car and fled. Six to seven seats of the bus were gutted and several window panes broken.
Speaking to Prothom Alo, Dulal Hawladar said, "They (police) have taken away my bus, my address and other details. I have heard they (police) filed a case."
About the signature in the case statement, he said, "The police told me to sign and said, 'We will manage a bus'. I put my signature on a blank sheet of paper."
When asked about 114 BNP leaders including prime accused Jahangir Hossain mentioned in the case statement, Dulal said, "I did not see anybody and I don't know anyone. I was not at the spot. The driver and the assistant were present. They do not know anybody. I can't say what police are doing, who they are arresting and interrogating."
About the statement of Dulal Hawladar, Khilkhet police station officer-in-charge Mohammad Borhan Uddin said, "His statement is not true. He is the owner of the bus. How is the case filed if he didn't file it?"
About signing a blank sheet of paper, the OC said, "That is not true."
When told that the bus owner does not know the prime accused, the OC said, "It is okay, bhai." He then cut the phone connection.
20 BNP leaders and activists remanded
The accused in 11 cases include BNP standing committee member Gayeshar Chandra Roy, Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) BNP mayor candidate Ishraq Hossain, Chhatra Dal central committee president Fazlur Rahman, general secretary Iqbal Hossain, Dhaka University unit convener Rakibul Islam and member secretary Amanullah.
A total of 13 cases were filed in connection with the incidents on Thursday and some 647 people were accused. Some 553 people were accused in connection with torching buses.
The charges mentioned in the case are similar in eight cases out of ten filed by police in connection with torching buses.
According to the charges BNP, its associated bodies and 20-party alliance leaders and activists in a planned manner torched the buses to create anarchy in the country and to foil the bye-election of Dhaka-18 constituency.
Court sources said 36 BNP leaders and activists were produced in the court in connection with these cases on Friday. Of them, 27 people were placed on remand.
On Saturday, 20 more leaders and activists of BNP and its associate bodies were taken into remand.
People accused in Dhaka despite being in Chattogram
A case has been filed against 42 leaders and activists of BNP and its associate bodies on charges of torching a bus used to carry officers and staff of Agrani Bank at Motijheel on Thursday. The accused include Chattogram Jubo Dal president Mosharraf Hossain and general secretary Muhammad Shahed.
Speaking to Prothom Alo over phone on Saturday, Muhammad Shahed said he and Mosharraf Hossain last came to Dhaka from Chattogram for organisational activities in the first week of September. After that he has been staying in Chattogram.
He said the BNP central office informed him over phone on Saturday that he has been implicated in a case filed with Motijheel police station.
He was astonished to hear that he has been made accused in a case filed on charges of torching a bus in Motijheel.
*This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Rabiul Islam.