The Banianagar intersection in Sutrapur is one of the busiest areas in Old Dhaka. At 6:15pm on 30 December 20-25 leaders and activists of BNP and its affiliated bodies gathered there and started chanting anti-government slogans. When they were asked to stop the anti-government slogans, they attacked the Awami League leaders and activists and then exploded crude bombs (cocktails) with an intention to kill them.
This is the statement in the case filed by Dhaka South City Corporation's No. 43 ward’s Awami League leader Khoyer Uddin Ahmed.
But when others present in the area were asked if they heard or saw anything like this, they couldn’t recall such an event.
In the case, it was written that the police had collected parts of the explosives and two unexploded crude bombs as evidence.
However, the plaintiff said that the other party threw rocks from the streets but didn’t explode any bombs.
In the case, it was written that the police had collected parts of the crude bombs and two unexploded bombs as evidence. However, the plaintiff said that the other party threw rocks from the streets but didn’t explode any bombs.
Ruling Awami League leaders have lodged 40 lawsuits in different police stations in the capital in the last seven months on allegations of such attacks. As many as 1,701 leaders and activists of de facto opposition BNP and its associated bodies have been made accused in the case filed between 17 November 2022 and 30 May 2023. Another 2,575 unnamed people have also been made accused in the cases.
BNP leaders term those 'fictitious cases'. That means cases have been filed though the alleged incidents did not take place. As a result, the case statements and the sections under which the cases have been filed are almost same.
Many such fictitious cases were filed by police across the country before the parliamentary election in 2018. As many as 697 such cases were filed in Dhaka city alone in three months (September-November) before that election. A total of 578 cases were filed in Dhaka in September alone. The cases filed under the Explosives Act and the Special Powers Act became known as 'fictitious cases' that time.
Mentioning that they are being subjected to ‘fictitious’ cases ahead of the national polls like the previous times, the BNP leaders and activists are saying the purpose of these cases is to make BNP activists leave their homes. The only exception this time is that the ruling party leaders and activists are the plaintiffs in many cases.
This correspondent found a record of 10 such cases in the last seven months filed by the police with different police stations in Dhaka. These cases were filed against 250 BNP activists and 110 unidentified ones on the allegations of attack on police, attempted murders and hurling crude bombs.
The local opposition leaders are calling these ‘fictitious cases’. Apart from that, there are several other cases centering BNP's programme, which were not taken into this account.
Asked about this, Faruk Hossain, deputy commissioner (media and public relations) and spokesperson of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) told Prothom Alo, “The cases were filed under the Explosives Act as there were incidents of sabotage. Those accused in the case are being arrested and handed over to the court. No one is being harassed.”
Of the 40 cases filed by the leaders and activists of Awami League and its associate bodies, 35 were filed in last November and December. These cases were filed during BNP’s divisional rallies and their rally in Dhaka on 12 December last year.
The cases were filed under the Explosives Act as there were incidents of sabotage. Those accused in the cases are being arrested and handed over to the court. No one is being harassedFaruk Hossain, deputy commissioner and spokesperson of DMP
These cases were filed against the leaders and activists of BNP and its associate bodies on the allegations of carrying out attacks on ruling party activists with local weapons, attempts to murder, vandalising cars and party offices and cocktail explosions.
Terming these allegations ‘utterly false’, BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said, “There was no incident of such attack or explosion. The Awami League leaders are framing the BNP activists in fictitious cases to make them leave their house.”
This correspondent thoroughly investigated the spots of 17 such cases filed between 14 March and 19 July. Prothom Alo talked to the locals, shopkeepers and other eyewitnesses to learn what happened on the day of the incident. People of 15 of the places say they haven’t seen any incidents of BNP activists attacking the ruling party activists with local weapons and cocktail explosions.
However, several residents of Dagair Bazar area in Demra and Gudara Ghat in the capital's Khilgaon area said they have heard explosions in front of Jubo League office near Dagair Bazar and in front of Jashim Hotel in Gudara Ghat. However, they couldn’t confirm who did that.
There was no clashes in the area that evening as far as I know. We would have heard if there were any explosionsMaqbul Hossain, an employee at a shop in the area
The Banianagar intersection in Sutrapur is the place of the case mentioned in the beginning of this report. Prothom Alo talked to Maqbul Hossain, an employee at a shop in the area, on 14 March. He said, “There was no clashes in the area that evening as far as I know. We would have heard if there were any explosions.”
Even the plaintiff of the case, Khoyer Uddin Ahmed, admitted that there was no cocktail explosion. However, he claimed, “BNP leaders and activists suddenly assaulted us and beat us up. They hurled brickbats and injured several of our men.” Khoyer Uddin Ahmed claims to be the president of unit-3 Awami League in ward-43.
Asked how the case could be filed under the Explosive Act where the plaintiff is saying there was no explosion, Sutrapur police station officer-in-charge Mainul Islam told Prothom Alo, “The case was filed under the explosive act as there were explosions. Legal action is being taken against people involved in this incident."
According to another case statement, BNP activists and leaders suddenly attacked the leaders and activists of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) while they were in a meeting at the WASA water pump ground in front of the Bagicha Masjid in Shahjahanpur at around 7:00 pm on 23 November last year and blasted cocktails there.
Two weeks after the case, on 7 December, the witness, pump operator Atarul Huq was contacted. He said he saw some BCL leaders and activists at the water pump ground on the day. However, he didn’t see anyone beating them. However, he heard a loud blast.
Speaking to Prothom Alo, Md Joynal, a local shopkeeper, said there was no clash in the water pump ground that day.
Speaking regarding this to Prothom Alo, Shahjahanpur police station officer-in-charge (OC) Md Farukul Alam said, “The case is under investigation. The report will be submitted at the end of the investigation.”
In another case, it has been alleged that on 3 December BNP activists blasted bombs and beat up the ruling party activists at around 7:15 pm in front of the Jashim Hotel in the Gudara Ghat area of Khilgaon.
Jashim Hotel’s owner Md Saddam told Prothom Alo, “I heard a loud blast in front of my restaurant. I was at the restaurant at the time. However, there was no fight here.”
Local fruit-seller Shahabuddin said, “There was no clash in the market that day. Some locals blasted crude bombs. However, they are not affiliated with the BNP.”
However, the then OC of the Khilgaon police station Farukul Alam told Prothom Alo, “Those who blasted the bombs that have been made accused in the case. The leaders and activists of the BNP are lying.”
According to another case statement, BNP leaders and activists suddenly arrived and started beating up the leaders of Jubo League and Chhatra League in front of the Jubo League office in the Paschimpara area near the Dagai market in Demra at around 8:35 pm on 17 November. Later, they (BNP activists) blasted three to four crude bombs there.
Speaking to Prothom Alo, Yusuf Ali, a local trader, said, “I haven’t heard of any incident of clash between Awami League and BNP activists in front of the local Jubo League office. However, I did hear the sound of cocktail explosions.”
Speaking to Prothom Alo on 16 March, Demra police station OC Shafiqur Rahman said, “Police rushed to the spot upon receiving the news of the attack in front of the Jubo League office. As soon as we reached there, the BNP leaders and activists started hurling brickbats toward us.”
Allegation of attack on police
There are allegations of illegal gathering, obstructing police on duty with local weapons, blasting cocktails and attempt to murder against BNP leaders and activists in the 10 cases filed by the police.
According to the case statement of one of these cases, leaders and activists of BNP and its associate bodies started chanting anti-government slogans on the new road near the Gandaria Bazar in Shyampur at around 8:10 pm on 9 February. Later, they hurled brickbats toward the police. At the same time, they blasted cocktails with an intention to kill. Four policemen were injured in the incident.
Speaking to Prothom Alo, Md Hannan, a local shopkeeper, “I have not seen any incident of BNP leaders and activists attacking the police or throwing cocktails.”
A separate case has been filed in the same area on allegations of an attack on Awami League leaders-activists on 23 May. According to the case statement, in Awami League leaders-activists gathered at Munshibari Dhal in Shyampur around 7pm on 23 May in protest of Rajshahi BNP leader Abu Saeed’s death threat to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
At the time, leaders-activists of Shaympur BNP and its affiliated organisations, Chatra Dal, Jubo Dal and Swechasebak Dalattacked them with local weapons. This left the Awami League leaders-activists critically injured. Many cocktail were also blasted there as well.
Abdul Malek, owner of a shop at Munshibari Dhal told Prothom Alo on 10 July, “There were no clashes between Awami League and BNP at this spot last May. I didn’t see any incident of bombs being thrown either.”
When asked to know about such inconsistencies between the case statement and the narrative of people from the spot of the incident, officer-in-charge (OC) of Shaympur police station Md Nazrul Islam told Prorthom Alo that general public fears to talk on political matters.
That’s why the public didn’t say the truth. In actuality, there was an incident of cocktail explosion there. Upon receiving the news, police went there and recovered fragments of the cocktails, he added.
Meanwhile, former president of Swechasebak league in 61 no. ward, Delwar Hossain lodged a case against 70 BNP leaders-activists and 80-90 anonymous persons with Kadamtali police station on 6 May.
The case statement said that the accused attacked a procession of 30-35 men, led by Delwar, at Qudrat Ali Bazar Tin Rastar More (intersection) around 7:30 pm on 5 May. As an attempt to murder they blasted a series of cocktails there.
The cocktails injured three people including Delowar. Police rushed to the scene at 8:25pm and seized two unexploded cocktail explosives along with the fragments of two exploded cocktails.
Md Momin was made witness to the list of seized items in this case. He told Prothom Alo that he didn’t see any incident of attack or cocktail explosion at Qudrat Ali Bazar Tin Rastar More (intersection) that day. He just signed a paper, when Delwar Hossain (plaintiff) asked him to.
But while talking to Prothom Alo, Delwar Hossain claimed that BNP leaders-activists had hurled brickbats on them that day injuring some of them. But, nobody was injured by the cocktail bombs.
All incidents occurred after evening
An analysis of case statements from 50 cases showed that BNP leaders-activists have orchestrated 83 incidents of cocktail explosions as an attempt to murder Awami League leaders-activists and police personnel.
Police have shown 29 unexploded bombs in the list of items recovered. Besides, 250 bamboos, rods and other items used during attacks on Awami League leaders-activists have also been included on the list.
The case statements mentioned that most of the incidents took place between evening and 11pm. Despite there being so many incidents of attacks and cases, there was no such news on the media following the incidents.
Most of the 40 spots in Dhaka city, where there have been incidents of attack on Awami League leaders-activists and its affiliated organisations, according to the case statements, fall under Dhaka South City Corporation.
As a result of this sort of cases being filed by ruling party leaders-activists, the hatred and intolerance among the leaders-activists of different political parties will only be intensified. This can turn into a reason to make the country unstable in futureShahdeen Malik, Supreme Court advocate
Dhaka couth city Awami League president Abu Ahmed Mannafi told Prothom Alo, “If there are incidents of attacks and cocktails explosion on leaders-activists of Awami League and its affiliated organisations, it’s only normal that cases will be filed against BNP leaders, who are involved. Since there have been attacks, our leaders have filed cases.”
Supreme Court advocate Shahdeen Malik believes, with this sort of cases the hatred among political parties will increase even farther. He told Prothom Alo, “As a result of this sort of cases being filed by ruling party leaders-activists, the hatred and intolerance among the leaders-activists of different political parties will only be intensified. This can turn into a reason to make the country unstable in future.”