Violence mars election campaign

Photo shows broken plastic chairs lying on the ground after a street rally of an independent candidate came under attack in Anandabazar in Sreepur, Gazipur on 22 December 2023.Collected

With two more weeks to go to the 12th parliamentary election, at least 30 people were injured as fresh violence occurred in 15 places of 11 constituencies from Thursday evening to Friday.

Clashes, assaults on campaigners, attacks on opponents’ rallies, vandalism and torching of polls camps were reported in from various places. In Gazipur-3 (Sreepur and parts of Sadar) constituency, street rallies of independent candidates Muhammad Iqbal Hossain were attacked five times.

With the latest incidents, a total of 36 incidents took place in the last five days since polls campaign began on 18 December, with leaders and activists of independent candidates mostly becoming the victims of attacks and assaults.

With the Bangladesh Nationalist Party not joining the upcoming election, Awami League fielded candidates in 264 constituencies, and the party leaders, who are running the polls independently, are their main opponents in more than 100 seats. Awami League relinquished 26 for Jatiya Party and six for the partners of the alliance. However, violence mostly occurred between the leaders-activists of boat and independent candidates.


Street rallies of independent candidates and running lawmaker Mohammed Ikbal Hossain from Gazipur-3 (Sreepur and parts of Sadar) constituency came under attacked in five places. As Awami League nominated Rumana Ali, a lawmaker from reserved seat for women, is to contest in the upcoming polls, Ikbal Hossain, Awami League’s Gazipur district unit general secretary is vying the election independently with the 'truck' symbol. Leaders and activists of Ikbal Hossain alleged at least six people were injured after their street rallies were attacked in Shimlapara, Aktherpara Bazar, Karwan Bazar, Andandabazar and Shirishguri areas.

Nasu Bhuyian is the president of the Awami League unit in ward no 9 of Sreepur’s Mawna union. Speaking of the attack on the street rally in Andandabazar he said, “Activists of the 'boat' started beating us up and resorted to vandalism saying no 'truck' will be allowed here.”

Prothom Alo could not reach those who face allegation of attacks as their mobile phones were found switched off.

A procession of the boat candidate came under attack in Kushtia-4 (Kumarkhali-Khoksa) in Joybangla Bazar in Joduboira union in Kumarkhali area at 8:30pm on Friday, trigging a clash that left at least five people injured.

Awami League-nominated candidate and incumbent lawmaker Selim Altaf George told Prothom Alo, “We suspect activists and supporters of independent candidates carried out the attack.”

Awami League’s district unit member Abdur Rauf is contesting the polls independently. His polling agent, Salehin Selim told Prothom Alo, “One of our camps was vandalised and two activists were injured.”

In Patuakhali-4 (Kalapara and Rangabali) constituency, Awami League nominated Md Muhibur Rahman is to contest in the upcoming election while former state minister for water resources and Awami League’s Kalapara upazila unit president Md Mahbubur Rahman is vying the polls independently.

On Thursday afternoon, four supporters of Mahbubur Rahman were injured after the supporters of Muhibur Rahman attacked them in Barkatia village of Dalbuganj union in Kalapara. One of the injured, Mamun, 30, was admitted to Sher-e-Bangla Medical College, Barishal in critical condition.

Several supporters of Mahbubur Rahman alleged Chattra League’s Mahipur union president Shoaib Khan launched the attack with the motorcade. Shoaib Khan denied the allegation saying he himself became the victim of attack.

Mohipur police station officer-in-charge Anwar Hossain Talukder told Prothom Alo they have previous disputes and now it turned into clash, but none filed a complaint to police.

Offices torched, vandalised

The makeshift election office of the Awami League-nominated candidate Abu Saleh Mohmmad Nazmul Haque was set on fire in Hemayetpur village of Gangni upazila in Meherpur on early on Friday.

Gangni police station officer-in-charge Monojit Kumar Nandi said police trying to find the perpetrators.

In Meherpur-2 (Gangni) constituency, the main competition is likely to take place between Abu Saleh Mohmmad Nazmul Haque and independent candidate Maqbul Hossain, who is the former president of Awami League’s Meherpur district unit.

State minister for foods Sadhan Chandra Majumder is contesting the upcoming election on boat symbol from Naogaon-1 (Niamatpur, Porsha, and Sapahar) constituency while Khalequzzaman, who is a member of Awami League’s Niamatpur upazila unit, competing the polls independently.

Khalequzzaman alleged his poll camp was vandalised and his activists were beaten. He raised the allegations at a press conference at his poll camp in Tantipara intersection of Porsha on Friday. He said supporters of boat symbol arrived in their poll camp by two three-wheelers, locally known as bhotbhoti, on Thursday night and vandlaised their camp. Three of his supporters were injured after they tried to prevent the attackers, he added.

Awami League’s Porsha upazila unit general secretary Mofazzel Hossain Shah, who is a supporter of boat symbol, denied the allegation saying they were come under attack instead.

Porsha police station officer-in-charge Atiar Rahman said both parties filed complaint and police were looking into the matter.

In Moulvibazar-3 (Sadar-Rajnagar) constituency, miscreants attacked the main election office of Jatiya Party-nominated candidate Md Altafur Rahman in Borohat area of Moulvibazar municipality around 10:00pm on Thursday, leaving five people injured.

Following the attack, Shahjadi Begum, wife of Altafur Rahman and president of Jatiya Mohila Party’s Moulvibazar district unit, filed a case with Sadar police station. Eight people were named and 10 unidentified people were made accused in this case. Police also arrested one.

Altafur Rahman told Prothom Alo the said there will be only boat simply, no plough symbol, and if such condition continues they will boycott election.

Moulvibazar Sadar police officer-in-charge KM Nazrul Islam said the attackers were a group of scoundrels and they have no affiliation with any political party.

In Jhenaidah-2 (Harinakunda and parts of Sadar) constituency, poll camp of independent candidate Nasser Shahrear Zahedee was attacked in Goalapara Bazar in Sadar upazila on Thursday afternoon. Five of his supporters sustained injuries as they were beaten and hacked. Supporters of Nasser Shahrear alleged activists and supporters of Awami League-nominated Tahjib Alam Siddique launched the attack.

Jhenaidah Sadar police station officer-in-charge Shahim Uddin said it was a minor incident and they rushed to the spot and calmed the situation.

In Dhaka-19 (Savar-Ashulia) constituency, the makeshift election office of independent candidate and former lawmaker Talukdar Mohammad Towhid Jung alias Murad was attacked on Mojirpur road in Savar bus stand area on Thursday and his supporters were attacked.

A case was filed with Savar model police station on Thursday night. Police arrested Bangladesh Hawkers’ League’s Savar municipality unit president Nazrul Islam, 35, and treasurer Md Ripon Hossain, 45, from Dazar Bazar are. According to the victims, these two are the supporters of Awami League-nominated candidate and state minister for disaster and relief Md Enamur Rahaman.

Md Enamur Rahaman told Prothom Alo, “It is very unfortunate that if anyone claims that those who are responsible are my supporters and no one who are involved with such incident can be my supporter at all.”

Clashes and assaults

Six people were injured after clashes broke out between two groups of Awami League-nominated candidate Abul Kalam Azad and independent candidate and incumbent lawmaker Enamul Haque in Rajshahi-4 (Bagmara) constituency.

According to activists of both groups, as well as locals, Shaila Khandakar, wife of Abul Kalam Azad, along the a group of leaders and activists went to Chewkhali area of Goalkandi union to run poll campaign. As their opponent groups prevented them from campaigning, clash broke out.

Both groups blamed each other for the incident, Bagmara police station officer-in-charge Arvinda Sarker told Prothom Alo there were untoward incident but nothing big happened.

In Dinajpur-6 (Birampur) constituency, activists of boat candidate Shibli Sadik allegedly barred the election rally of independent caudate and Awami League’s Dijanpur district unit member Azizul Haque Chowdhury and beat up one of his activists.

A case was filed over the incident. According to the case statement, former joint convener of Awami League’s Jotbani union Hasun Chowdhury was beaten in Ketra Bazar area around 7:30pm on Thursday.

Assistant returning officer and upazila nirbahi officer Birampurm Nuzhat Tasneem Awon told Prothom Alo, “The accused will be warned over the matter.”

In Rajshahi-6 (Charghat-Bhaga) constituency, Nazir Hossain, a supporter of independent candidate and Awami League’s district unit member Rahenul Haque, was taken to the office of the boat candidate and beaten indiscriminately on Thursday. A case was filed over the incident after 1:00am on Friday.

Rajshahi’s superintendent of police (SP) Md Saifur Rahman told Prothom Alo on Friday two people were arrested over the incident on the night.

Case filed in Madaripur

In Madaripur-3 (Kalkini and parts of Sadar) constituency, handmade bombs were exploded at the procession of the supporters of independent candidate Tahmina Begum on Thursday in Kalkini, Madaripur. A case was filed on Friday over the incident. Fifty-seven people were named and 15-20 unnamed people were made accused in this case.

According to police and case statement, several handmade bombs were hurled at a procession of Tahmina Begum’s supporters chanting the slogans on boat. Kalkini police station officer-in-charge Nazmul Hasan told Prothom Alo on Friday afternoon police arrested two people and trying to nab other accused.

Awami League nominated central publicity and publication secretary Md Abdus Sobhan Miah to contest the 7 January election from Madaripur-3 while Awami League’s Kalkini upazila unit president and lawmaker from reserved seat for woman Tahmina Begum is vying the election independently.

Prothom Alo’s Correspondents from respective districts contributed to this report.