During BNP's sit-in programs at Dhaka's entry points on Saturday, clashes, bus arson, and vandalism occurred in at least five locations. These incidents resulted in injuries to several police officers, and many BNP leaders and activists were also arrested.
Prothom Alo talked to Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan about the clashes and violence. He was interviewed over the phone by Prothom Alo staff correspondent Ahmadul Hassan.
There have been incidents of police and Awami League leaders-activists clashing with BNP at least at five places in Dhaka. Many from either side have been injured due to that. Many leaders-activists of BNP have been arrested. Could this situation be avoided?
The current situation gives the impression that the BNP is following their past pattern of violence, arson, and creating a siege-like state in Dhaka, just as they did in 2014-15. This time, they took positions at several entry points like Dhaka-Gabtoli, Babubazar, Jatrabari, Abdullahpur, armed with bamboo sticks and petrol bombs.
The police were not fully prepared to handle such a situation. The BNP members chased and attacked the police, leading to road blockades and disruptions in public movement. They set six buses on fire and damaged other vehicles as well. Many police personnel were injured in these attacks. Despite the challenges, the police handled the situation with patience.
BNP has alleged that Awami League men attacked BNP with sticks and rods. Alongside police, Awami League leaders-activists also participated in the attacks. What will you say about this allegation?
If Awami League had taken position with sticks and rods, no one from the police or Awami League would have been injured. BNP on the contrary caused public sufferings by blocking the roads, taking position on streets with two and a half feet long bamboo sticks and petrol bombs. They attacked the police also.
The BNP has alleged that the government is using the police to suppress their opposition activities. They claim that, apart from obstructing their programs, the authorities are also arresting their leaders and activists in an effort to suppress the BNP. What is your response to that?
BNP has held rallies and marches before. There were no obstrctions anywhere. During Saturday’s programme, BNP leaders and activists had taken position on the streets blocking vehicular movements.
The police responded by taking necessary measures to ensure uninterrupted public movement. BNP's intention was to block the roads, which is not allowed by law. Therefore, the police had to take appropriate actions. There is no issue of repression here.