Leaders and activists of Bangladesh Nationalists Party (BNP) came under attack in different districts of the country on Friday and Thursday while attending the party’s protest rallies against fuel and other price hikes and killing of two leaders in Bhola.
BNP alleges Awami League men carried out these attacks.
Over 100 BNP activists were injured as their rallies came under attack in Chattogram, Munshiganj, Narayanganj and Noakhali on Friday.
On Thursday, BNP men were attacked in Barisal’s Uzirpur and Mehendiganj while BNP office in Jhenidah’s Shailakupa were vandalised.
House and business of a party leader also came under attack and BNP central vice president Ahmed Azam Khan’s car was vandalised.
BNP men clashed with police in Bhola on 31 July centering a protest programme against countrywide load shedding and mismanagement in energy sector.
Two leaders of BNP’s associate bodies were killed by gunfire during the incident.
Following the Bhola incident, BNP has been organising protests against the deaths of their party men and price hike of essentials across the country. BNP's demonstrations came under attack at various areas, houses of BNP leaders were ransacked in three places and section 144 was imposed in five upazilas as AL and BNP called programmes at same venues.
BNP-Police clash leaves 40 injured in Chattogram
At least 40 were injured as BNP men clashed with police in Chattogram’s Banshkhali upazila on Friday afternoon.
The upazila BNP’s convener Abu Sufian told Prothom Alo that they were supposed to hold protest rallies in different parts of the upazila including in Pukuria area protesting price hike of fuel and other commodities and killing of two leaders in Bhola.
As the ruling party men took position in Pukuria area, BNP brought out a procession from former lawmaker Jafrul Islam Chowdhury’s house in Gunaguri area. The police intercepted the procession while it was heading towards the Banshkhali road.
Abu Sufian alleged that AL men were accompanying the police at that time.
Witnesses and police alleged BNP men turned violent and started to hurl brickbat at police. Around 35 BNP men were injured as the law enforcers fired blank shots to disperse the crowd. Five police were injured by the attack of BNP men.
Superintendent of Chattogram district police SM Rashidul Haque told Prothom Alo that police requested BNP not to advance further with the procession fearing clash. At one point, the BNP men started to hurl brickbats at the police, leaving some of them injured. Police fired blank shots to quell the situation.
He denied the allegation that AL men accompanying the police during the clash.
Stage for BNP’s rally vandalised in Noakhali
At least 15 including Chatkhil upazila BNP’s convener Abu Hanif and member secretary Shahjahan Rana were injured in an attack on BNP rally in Noakhali.
BNP alleges that members of local Awami League and associate bodies carried out attack in presence of police at around 2:00pm. They vandalised the stage of BNP’s rally at Chatkhil Alia Madrasa ground.
Upazila Awami League president and Chatkhil upazila chairman Jahangir Kabir denied the allegation of attack.
He said they heard the BNP’s factional clash led to vandalisation of the makeshift stage set up for the rally.
Five injured in Araihazar
At least five were injured as Awami League men allegedly attacked a BNP rally in Narayanganj’s Araihazar on Friday morning.
The attack took place in the upazila’s Gopaldi Bazar at around 11 in the morning.
Upazila BNP’s joint secretary Afzal Hossain, organising secretary Kamal Hossain, Gopaldi pourashava BNP’s organising secretary Shamsul Haque, Araihazar pourashava BNP’s organising secretary Arman Mollah, Swecchasebak Dal’s joint convener Md Sohagh were injured in the attack. The injured persons were treated in local hospitals.
Araihazar upazila BNP’s president Yousuf Ali Bhuiyan told Prothom Alo that BNP brought out a rally protesting against the price hike of fuel and other essential commodities. AL men attacked the rally without any provocation, said the BNP leader adding that Gopaldi pourashava mayor Halim Sikder led the attack.
Halim Sikder could not be reached for his comment as his mobile phone was found to be switched off.
AL men allegedly torched a shop of local BNP leader Monir after the attack. National daily Dainik Sangbad’s photojournalist Haradhan Chandra was beaten by the ruling party men as he tried to take photo of the arson.
“After attacking BNP’s rally, Awami League leaders-activists torched a bamboo-made shop in the local market. They snatched my mobile, verbally abused and beat me as I wanted to take a photo of the arson,” Haradhan told Prothom Alo.
Gopaldi pourashava AL’s secretary Jakir Hossain told Prothom Alo that they had a pre-scheduled mourning procession at Gopaldi area. AL activists chased BNP men as they brought out a procession at the same place.
He said BNP men torched their leader’s shop.
Araihazar police station’s officer-in-charge (OC) Azizul Haque said BNP brought out a procession without any permission.
He said police quelled the situation after tension broke out between the activists of AL and BNP.
BCL-Jubo League attack BNP rally in Munshiganj
A rally of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) came under attack in Munshiganj’s Sreenagar upazila on Friday morning.
BNP claimed at least 50 persons including the party’s member secretary of upazila unit were injured in the attack.
BNP alleged that the ruling Awami League’s associate bodies Chharta League and Jubo League carried out the attack in presence of police. Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL), however, claimed that BNP men attacked their procession and injured 10-15 activists.
Locals said leaders and activists of BNP and associate bodies thronged the Sreenagar-Dohar bypass area in the morning to join their scheduled programme protesting the price hike.
Upazila BNP’s member secretary Hafizul Islam Khan told Prothom Alo that BCL and Jubo League men attacked their peaceful procession with local and sharp weapons at the behest of policemen present there.
Sreenagar upazila BCL’s general secretary Fahim Islam said BNP men attacked a mourning procession of BCL brought out on Sreenagar bypass road to mark the month of mourning.
He denied BCL initiated the attack.
Officer-in-charge of Sreenagar police station Md Aminul Islam said the clash ensued as stones were pelted at BCL men from BNP’s procession.
45 injured in Barisal
Uzirpur upazila BNP organised a protest programme near upazila health complex at around 11 in the morning on Thursday.
BNP alleged that they were attacked on their way to the rally venue at Satla, Daberkul, Tempoo Stand, Pourashava dak bungalow and Beltala areas. BNP men were also attacked after the programme started at around 11:30am.
Uzirpur pourashava BNP’s former president and member of district BNP’s convening committee Md Shahidul Islam alleged that some 50-60 AL men led by pourashava unit AL’s general secretary Ripon Mollah, his brother and pourashava Jubo League’s general secretary Shin Mollah and upazila Chhatra League’s president Asim Ukil carried out attacks on BNP men in different areas.
Ripon and Shin binned the allegation saying the clash took place due to BNP’s infighting.
Meanwhile, Mehendiganj pourashava BNP called a protest rally in front of Rajlakkhi cinema hall on Thursday morning. BNP alleges that AL men attacked their activists in different areas, leaving five injured.
Pourashava BNP’s president Jiauddin Sujan said upazila Sramik League president Monir Jomaddar and Babul Hawlader took position at the venue of BNP’s rally in the morning.
Monir Jomaddar denied the allegation of beating BNP men.
BNP leader’s car vendalised
Sakhipur upazila unit AL orgnised a meeting marking the national mourning day at the Muktar Foara Chattar. Upazila BNP also organized a meeting at Mujib College area at the same time.
Police and witnesses said BNP leader Ahmed Azam Khan was returning from his party’s programme. AL leaders allege that some of the BNP activists on Azam Khan’s motorcade chanted ‘anti-government slogan’ while they were passing the AL’s programme. BCL leaders then attacked the BNP leader’s car with chair. BNP brought out a procession at around 8:00pm protesting the attack.
Sakhipur pourashava AL president Ahammad Ali Mia told Prothom Alo that the indecent slogan chanted by BNP leaders and activists ensued the clash.
Section 144 in Raiganj, Programme cancelled in Shibaloy
Upazila administration imposed section 144 in Sirajganj’s Raiganj upazila as AL and BNP called programmes at the same place.
Harun Or Rashid Khan, joint secretary of district BNP, alleged that the authorities imposed section 144 to foil the BNP’s programme.
Upazila AL’s secretary Abul Kalam Azad said they called a programme as part of their series of programmes marking the month of mourning.
Meanwhile, BNP cancelled its programme in Manikganj’s Shibaloy upazila as AL threw a programme in nearby place.
Attack on BNP office
Some miscreants attacked Shailkupa upazila BNP’s office, which was closed during the attack, on Thursday evening. Pourashava BNP’s general secretary Selim Reza said a group of youth attacked the office chanting ‘Joy Bangla’ slogan, vandalised the furniture and tore banners.
They also attacked pourashava BNP president Abu Taleb Mia’s house and business.
Pourashava AL’s president Ashraful Azam said they don’t know who attacked the BNP office.
*Our correspondents from respective districts and upazilas contributed to this story.