Some 19 shops in Bagdha Bazar of Agailjhara upazila of Barishal have been locked down. Besides, a shop in Kurir Char market in the upazila has also been shut down.

owners of these shops say leaders and activists of ruling Awami League have shut down their shops as they joined the divisional rally of BNP, held at Bangabandhu Udyan in Barishal city on Saturday.

The victims also said despite urging the Awami League leaders and activists, the traders could not stop ruling party activists from shutting down their shops. They informed the police about the incident, but all went in vain, they alleged.

Apart from that, a Jubo Dal leader was allegedly beaten up by local Jubo League activists in Gournadi of Barishal. He too had joined BNP’s rally in Barishal.

According to the locals and the affected traders, several traders from Bagdha union in Agailjhara closed down their shops and joined BNP’s divisional rally in Barishal. In the morning on that very same day, some 30-40 leaders and activists of Awami League, led by Bagdha union parishad chairman and upazila Awami League’s general secretary Aminul Islam, locked the shops of those traders.

I was not alone. Leaders of the union Awami League and its associate bodies did this together. We did this following the orders from the top leaders of Agailjhara upazila Awami League
Md. Aminul Islam, joint general secretary of Agailjhara upazila AL

Speaking to Prothom Alo on Tuesday, trader Al Amin Hawladar said, “We requested the Awami League leaders and activists a lot as we got the news of shutting down our shops after returning from the rally. My family has been suffering a lot as my shop has been closed for the last four days. I am incurring financial losses as well.”

The shops which have been locked down are Golam Mukid’s grocery store, Farid Hossain’s cosmetics’ shop, Al Amin Hawladar’s electronics goods’ shop, pharmacy of Apang Khan, grocery stores of Ezabul Khan, Kajal Khandker, Anwar Hossain and Habib Khan and a decoration business owned by Masud Boktiar.

Trader Masud Baktiar alleged, “Mithu Bakhtiar, son of Peyara Bakhtiar, Agailjhara upazila Sramik League leader and member of Barisal zila parishad, not only shut down my shop, but also threatened my family members.” 

Md. Aminul Islam, joint general secretary of upazila Awami League, admitted that they have closed down some shops.

He said, “I was not alone. Leaders of the union Awami League and its associate bodies did this together. We did this following the orders from the top leaders of Agailjhara upazila Awami League.”

Meanwhile, Sramik League leader Mithu Bakhtiar could not be reached despite trying repeatedly over the phone for his comment on the allegation of threatening the family members of the traders, who joined BNP’s rally.

Agailjhara upazila Awami League’s general secretary Abu Saleh Mohammad Liton Serniyabat did not receive the call from this correspondent. He didn’t even respond to the message sent to him.

Claiming that no one filed any complaint over the incident, Md. Majaharul Islam, officer-in-charge (investigation), said, “We will take necessary actions if someone lodges a complaint in this regard.”

Shohag Bepari, a trader of Kurir Char Bazar in Sarikal union of Gournadi upazila, alleged that Mamun Bepari, union Jubo League general secretary, led a group to lock his shop.

Earlier, on Sunday, a speech impaired person, Taslim Khan, 37, was beaten up in the Sarikal bus stand area in the upazila. The victim’s family alleged that the leaders and activists of Jubo League attacked him for joining BNP’s rally in Barishal.

Later, on Monday night, union Jubo Dal activist Arif Hossain was beaten up. In this case too, the families of the victim blamed the Jubo League leaders and activists for the attack.

However, Mamun Bepari denied the allegations against him.

When asked, officer-in-charge (OC) of Gournadi police station, Md, Afzal Hossain, told Prothom Alo on Tuesday that none had lodged any complaint in this regard till then.