The ruling Awami League leaders and activists in Natore took over BNP’s stage for their march, to hold the AL peace rally there on Saturday. The incident took place in the Madrasah Ghat Battala area of the Chhatni union in Natore Sadar upazila this morning.
The activists and leaders of BNP and its associate bodies started thronging near the Madrasah Ghat Battala area from 8.30am in the morning. Local BNP leaders started addressing the programme before starting the march at around 10.00am. District BNP’s acting convener Shahidul Islam and Natore city BNP secretary general Zillur Rahman Khan delivered speeches at the time.
Following that, union BNP president Jalal Uddin Molla and general secretary Saiful Islam asked the BNP leader to commence the march. Around 650 activists and leaders of local BNP started the march at around 10.30am. Their plan was to continue the march up to the Chhatni High School and then return back to the Battala area.
However, the Awami League leaders and activists took over BNP’s stage at Battala while chanting their party slogans even before the march reached the Chhatni High School. After taking over the stage, the ruling party leaders and followers started their peace rally there.
Upazila Awami League vice-president and Chhatni union parishad chairman Tofazzal Hossain Sarker, union Awami League president Dulal Sarker, general secretary Dulal Mandal, union Jubo League Emran Sarker and others addressed the peace rally.
At least seven local traders and shopkeepers say the BNP leaders and activists started returning to the stage without completing the march as soon as they got the news. The people nearby moved away from the area in fear of clashes.
However, the BNP supporters took position on the Chhatni-Natore road peacefully. Later, after finishing the peace rally, the Awami League activists left towards Mirzapur on motorcycles. However, no law enforcement personnel were seen during the entire incident.
Chhatni union BNP organising secretary said Awami League started their peace rally in front of the union parishad building. BNP organised the march some two kilometres away from the union parishad building. However, the ruling party activists moved from that place and took over the stage at Battala and held their peace rally there in the end. To avoid any unwarranted situation, the BNP activists didn’t obstruct them, he added.
He further claimed, “Awami League’s leaders and activists took position with sticks at Habur Morh, Panditgram and Baragharia intersection to obstruct our march. They didn't even let us get on the road. We had to take alternative ways to reach Battala."
However, union Awami League president Dulal Sarker denied the allegations saying, “BNP promised us that they wouldn’t hold any programme. Therefore, we didn’t organise any programme at Battala. But today, they started their programme in presence of their district leaders. Seeing that, we could not help but come to Battala. However, we didn’t prevent them from holding their programme.”