Police charge batons, foil JCD protest rally in Dhaka on 28 February 2021
Police charge batons, foil JCD protest rally in Dhaka on 28 February 2021Syful Islam

The rally that the Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal, student wing of de facto opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party, organised on Sunday protesting at the custodial death of writer Mushtaq Ahmed and the decision to revoke the gallantry award of former president Ziaur Rahman was foiled.

The rally was set to be organised in front of the National Press Club in the capital. But the rally was foiled even before it started as a clash broke out between police and the JCD and BNP men.

The JCD leaders and activists started gathering in front of the press club around 10:00am to attend the programme following an announcement made earlier. Around 11:00am, when a section of the leaders and activists tried to get out of the press club, police stopped them. At one stage, several JCD leaders and activists sat down on the road. Police charged batons on them that agitated the JCD and BNP men present in the area.

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Following the bat charge, a chase and counter-chase began between the law enforcement men and BNP and JCD leaders and activists. The BNP and JCD men threw brickbats aiming police and vandalised the area. Police, then, chased them and beat indiscriminately. Police also fired empty shells and tear gas shells to disperse them.

Around 11:30am, a few BNP and JCD leaders and activists entered the press club. Following them, police also entered the press club and beat them. Some of the BNP men took position at a corner of BMA building and chanted slogans there.

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Several BNP and JCD leaders and activists, police and journalists were injured in the clash.

BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir was scheduled to attend the rally while Dhaka metro (south) BNP president Habib-un-Nabi Khan Sohel was present at the spot. Among the JCD leaders, central committee president Fazlur Rahman, general secretary Iqbal Hossain and Dhaka (south) general secretary MA Gaffar were present there.

Speaking to Prothom Alo, JCD’s Dhaka University unit leader Anisur Rahman said Chhatra Dal organised the rally protesting at the death of writer Mushtaq Ahmed, scrapping Digital Security Act and decision to revoke the gallantry award to Ziaur Rahman in front of the National Press Club. Around 500 leaders and activists gathered inside the press club to join the programme. Around 11:00am, they led by Habib-un-Nabi Khan Sohel tried to go out but police started charging batons indiscriminately and fired tear gas shells and opened firing, leaving many JCD and BNP men injured.

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The injured were sent to different hospitals including the Dhaka Medical College Hospital for treatment. Injured include Habib-un-Nabi Khan Sohel Habib-un-Nabi Khan Sohel, JCD central vice-president Mamun Khan, JCD joint secretary Karim Pradhan and Edn College’s senior joint convener Jannat Jahan.

Police said the JCD did not have permission to organise the rally. Programmes could be organised inside the National Press Club without any permission but the road outside is a very important one and no one could be organised there without prior persmision.

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Dhaka Metrpolitan Police deputy commissioner (Ramna Zone) Sazzadur Rahman told the newspersons that JCD did not take permission to hold the rally here. Around 400-500 activists tried to took position on the road from the press club and attacked policemen. Brickbats were thrown from the press club leaving seven-eight policemen injured.

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He also said that they took several people in custody.

Claiming the attack as pre-planned, Sazzadur Rahman said, “There are not much brick bats inside the press club. Where did they get those? Legal actions would be taken about this.”

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