The supporters of BNP’s mayor candidate Ishraque Hossain engaged in a clash with Awami League activists during electioneering in the capital’s Gopibagh on Sunday, reports UNB.
The clash that lasted for around 30 minutes left around 15 people, including a photojournalist of Somoy Television, injured.
Witnesses said the supporters of ruling Awami League-backed councillor candidate Rokonuddin Ahmed and reserved women councillor candidate Lovely Chowdhury took position on a road near the main gate of Central Women’s College while Ishraque along with his supporters was moving to the area in a procession around 12:50pm.
Both sides raised slogans against each other and locked into an altercation.
At one stage, they attacked each other by throwing brickbats and chairs at each other.
The two sides fought a pitched battle until police intervened and brought the situation under control. The sounds of several blank shots were heard during the fight.
Duty officer of Wari police station Shila Akhter said they sent their force immediately after receiving information about the clash through a phone call on 999.
During the melee, Ishraque took shelter at his Gopibagh’s residence.
Talking to reporters, Ishraque later said ruling party men attacked them as part of their move to foil the elections.
The BNP candidate said he along with his supporters was peacefully returning to his Gopibagh house from Hatkhola via Tikatuli, but they were attacked suddenly from an under-construction building where there is an election camp of an Awami League councillor.
Ishraque’s follower Mamun said they sent about 14 injured BNP activists to different hospitals for treatment.
Besides, Somoy Television’s photojournalist Ashraful Islam was also injured in the clash.
AL councillor candidate Rokonuddin Ahmed alleged that Ishraque’s supporters attacked his election camp without any provocation, leaving his some activists injured.
He also claimed that BNP activists also fired eight rounds of bullets towards them, an allegation turned down by Ishraque.
At a press conference at his house, Ishraque said, “They (AL supporters) attacked us and fired shots at us. We think they’re trying to shift blame onto us by carrying out the attack which people won’t accept and believe.”
He also alleged that the OC of Wari police station is playing a biased role.
Ishraque said they informed police about their scheduled programme, but they did not take any step for ensuring their security.
He said the ruling party launched the attack as part of their evil efforts to spread panic among voters.
Ishraque urged his supporters to remain calm and not to be worried over the election atmosphere. “I call upon voters not to get confused. You will go to polling stations and cast your votes.”
The BNP candidate said he will file a case in connection with the incident since his many supporters were injured in it.
Last week, BNP’s mayoral candidate of Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) Tabith Awal was also attacked during electioneering at Gabtoli. BNP activists accused ruling Awami League-backed councillor candidate of carrying out the attack.