Meanwhile, the BNP-backed panel held a press briefing around 3:00 pm and marched towards the voting area. At one stage, the two groups of lawyers chased each other and vandalised the voting pandal.

The ruling party-backed lawyers brought out a counter procession and chanted slogans there. Their rival group attempted to enter the SCBA auditorium, but failed.

Asaduzzaman Monir, member of the election conducting sub-committee, told Prothom Alo around 6:00 pm that the voting began two hours after the scheduled time due to objections from the BNP-backed candidates. The voting began at 12:00 pm after the police came to the spot and took the situation under control.

“It is the BNP-backed group who vandalised the voting pandal,” he said, adding some 2217 of total 8602 voters cast votes on the first day of election.


According to witnesses, Ruhul Kuddus, secretary candidate of the BNP-backed panel, engaged in an altercation with a member of the election conducting sub-committee on the SCBA premises around 9:45 am. The sub-committee was repeatedly asking the candidates to go to their designated place. The Awami League-allied lawyers extended their support to the call, shouting “yes, yes”.

Later, the BNP-backed panel’s presidential candidate, Mahbub Uddin, declared that the voting will not take place until a decision is made over the election conducting committee. A scuffle ensued from the tension between the two factions.

Attack on journalists

At least 10 journalists came under police attack in the SCBA auditorium while discharging professional duties in the election. Among the injured, ATN News journalist Jabed Akter is now undergoing treatment at Dhaka Medical College Hospital with a critical health condition.

Among other injured are Prothom Alo senior photojournalist Shuvra Kanti Das, Jago News senior reporter Fazlul Haque, Ajker Patrika journalist Nur Mohammad, Independent Television journalist Jannatul Ferdous, Boishakhi Television cameraperson Ibrahim Hossain, ATN Bangla photojournalist Humayun Kabir and Manabzamin journalist Abdullah Al Maruf.

Jago News senior reporter Fazlul Haque said he suffered wounds in his head and different body parts as the policemen beat him up during the election. They also snatched mobile phones and cameras of journalists.

Shuvra Kanti Das said, “The police wanted to see my identity card when I was taking pictures of the scuffle. When I showed the ID card, they took a picture of it. At one stage, the policemen abused me verbally and assaulted me physically.”

Nur Mohammad said the policemen kicked him when he was on professional duty during the scuffle at the SCBA auditorium.