A tensed situation prevailed in Basurhat of Noakhali’s Compnaiganj upazila on Monday following the imposition of section 144.
The local administration imposed section 144 in Basurhat municipality on Sunday night as municipality mayor Abdul Quader Mirza and Awami League leader Mizanur Rahman alias Badal announced that they would hold meetings at the same time and venue in the area.
The section 144 was in force from 11pm on Sunday till 6pm on Monday.
Shops were closed. People’s appearance was thin. Punishment to Quader Mirza was demanded from two separate rallies held outside the municipal area.
Bashurhat municipality mayor Quader Mirza announced that he would hold a press conference in the party office but couldn’t do so due to strong stance of the administration.
However, he held a meeting in the evening to mourn the death of the journalist, who sustained bullet injuries during the Awami League infighting clashes on Friday.
Quader Mirza is the younger brother of Awami League general secretary and road transport and bridges minister Obaidul Qauder. Mizanur Rahman, who claims to be a follower of Obaidul Qauder, is the organising secretary of Awami League’s Companiganj upazila unit.
The followers of Mizanur held a rally one km away from the municipality boundary in Teker Bazar. Mizanur and other leaders of Awami League’s associate bodies addressed the rally. They demanded immediate party and administrative actions against Quader Mirza.
Besides, another rally against Quader Mirza was held in Taler Chara area of Daganbhuiyan outside Companiganj area on Monday afternoon.
Prothom Alo’s Feni and Sonagaji correspondents said Awami League’s Daganbhuiyan unit organised the protest rally on Feni-Basurhat road, some one km away from Quader Mirza’s residence.
The venue was outside the area where section 144 was imposed. Leaders and activists of Awami League from Feni district joined the rally. Presiding over by president of Awami League’s Daganbhuiyan upazila unit Kamal Uddin, chairmen of Sonagazi, Fulgazi, Chagalnaiya and Daganbhuiyan upazilas, mayors of Feni, Sonagazi and Daganbhuiyan municipalities, president and general secretary of Awami League’s Feni Sadar upazila and leaders of Juba League and Chhatra League also spoke.
They protested Quader Mirza’s false and indecent remarks against Obaidul Quader and Daganbhuiyan upazila chairman Didarul Kabir.
Speakers alleged that Quader Mirza held a meeting with Jamaat-BNP in the USA. He has been carrying out foul paly against ministers and lawmakers of Awami League all the time.
He has been planning to destroy the Awami League from Basurhat municipality. The people of Feni will forgive Quader Mirza, only after prime minister Sheikh Hasina forgives him.
No vehicles moved on Feni-Basurhat road since Monday noon due to Awami League’s protest rally against Quader Mirza. A large number of police were deployed centering the rally.
Visit to Basurhat
Witnesses said the upazila administration imposed section 144 at 11:00 pm on Sunday. Before that, entire Basurhat and its adjacent area turned into a city of terror since 9:00 pm. Followers of Quader Mirza blocked the roads by felling tree trunks on at least three entry points to Bansurhat. At that time, they created panic by exploding cocktails and setting fire to tyre on the roads. The terrifying situation had lasted for the entire day.
On Monday, tree trunks, pile of brick chips and ashes of burnt tyres were seen in short distances on the roads near the municipality boundary, some 23 km away from the district town.
Roadside shops were also shut. Entire Basurhat was somewhat seized by felling tree trunks and cutting roadside trees on two more entry points of Basurhat-Daganbhuiyan and Basurhat-Chaprashi roads on Sunday night.
Locals said followers of Quader Mirza did it to prevent the entry of the people from neighboring Kabirhat and Feni’s Daganbhuiyan areas to Basurhat.
Later police and fire service personnel cleared the roads.
Officer-in-charge (OC) of Companiganj police station Mir Zahedul Haque told Prothom Alo when they were clearing one road protesters were felling trees on another. As a result, it took the entire night, the police official added.
Most of the shops were closed in Bashurhat town due to the imposition of section 144. Tense situation prevailed in the area for the entire day. Police and Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) had been patrolling since the morning.
Amid the section 144, Quader Mirza all of a sudden announced on Monday noon that he would hold a press conference at the party office on Rupali intersection of Basurhat at 3:00 pm. Quader Mirza went to the spot on time.
Being informed, executive magistrate Supravat Chakma and additional superintendent of police Joyti Kheesa came to the spot. They informed Quader Mirza that he can’t hold the press conferee since section 144 is in force. At that time, Quader Mirza locked into a heated argument with the officials. At one stage, police made the journalists leave the spot. Then Quader Mirza took position on the stage, prepared for condolence meeting, for a while and left.
Quader Mirza organised a condolence meeting and doa mahfil for the slain journalist Burhan Uddin at Basurhat’s Rupali intersection at 6:00 pm. He demanded fair investigation into the killing of Burhan Uddin saying, “My stance is clear, if a fair trial to the killing of this journalist doesn’t take place, fire will ravage Compnaiganj.”
However, most of Quader Mirza’s 40-minute speech was against two lawmakers of Nakhali and Feni, deputy commissioner, superintendent of police, upazila administration, officer-in-charge and the rival leaders of his party.
No lawsuit over death of journalist
No case was filed over the killing of journalist Burhan Uddin till Monday evening. Officer-in-charge (OC) Zahedul Islam told Prothom Alo that a murder case would be recorded immediately after receiving the complaint from the family.
Meanwhile, district correspondent of online news portal Barta 24 and newspaper Swadesh Pratidin, Pias Uddin alleged he was standing beside the electronic product shops adjacent to Basurhat’s Rupali intersection around 7:30 am on Sunday.
At that time, Quader Mirza hurled abusive language as he walking past him. Then the followers of Quader Mirza strikes Pias with the fist, leaving him injured. Companiganj OC said Pias informed him of the incident over phone. Legal action will be taken after receiving a written complaint, he added.