One dies as AL factions clash during election rally in Barishal

At least 15 people, including Shiraj, were beaten with sticks during the AL's factional clash in Barishal on 29 December, 2023.Prothom ALo

Two factions of the Awami League (AL) clashed during the party’s election rally in Barishal, resulting in one death and 15 injuries.

AL President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina attended the rally at Bangabandhu Udyan in the divisional city as the chief guest on Friday afternoon.

The clash erupted between the loyalists of Pankaj Nath, current lawmaker of Barishal-4 constituency, and Shammi Ahammed, new ruling party candidate for the seat.

The victim -- Shiraj Shikder, 58, a resident of Kuralia village in Hizla upazila -- fell sick during the clash. He was rushed to Sher-e-Bangla Medical College Hospital in Barishal, where physicians pronounced him dead.

Kabir Uddin, a physician at the emergency ward, said he seems to have died of cardiac arrest. The body has been sent to the morgue for autopsy.

He also revealed that some 13 people, who sustained injuries in the clash, have been admitted to the hospital.

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In Barishal-4, the ruling party chose Shammi Ahammed, its central international affairs secretary, as the candidate for the upcoming national election, replacing Pankaj Nath. However, the election commission (EC) invalidated Shammi Ahammed’s candidacy due to his dual citizenship.

Bhutto Molla, former general secretary of Mehendiganj upazila Jubo League, alleged that Shammi Ahammed's loyalists attacked them when they were entering the rally venue. It triggered a scuffle there.

"At least 15 people, including Shiraj, were beaten with sticks. Shiraj succumbed to his injuries," he claimed.

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Meanwhile, Syed Manjur Morshed, a loyalist of Shammi, blamed Pankaj Nath's supporters for orchestrating the clash and said Shiraj, their fellow activist, fell sick during the confrontation.

Arichul Haque, officer-in-charge of Barishal Kotwali model police station, also confirmed the death, but was not clear about the reasons. He said the person who took Shiraj to the hospital said he fell sick at the rally ground.