Keraniganj, Dec 25 (UNB) – At least 10 journalists were injured and 16 vehicles carrying them vandalised as some unidentified miscreants attacked them at a rest house in Kolakopa of Nawabganj upazila on Monday night.
A total of 30 journalists of the Dainik Jugantar and Jamuna Television boarded at ‘Shamim Guest House’ in the upazila to cover electioneering of the upcoming 11th national elections for Dhaka-1 constituency, said Azharul Haque, staff reporter of the daily.
A gang of miscreants suddenly started vandalising vehicles of the media houses parked in front of the guest house around 10:30 pm, he said.
Hearing sounds, when the journalists came down, the miscreants swooped on them and beat them indiscriminately, leaving 10 of them including Jamuna Television special reporter Sushanto Sinha injured, he added.
Meanwhile, Shamim Khan, Dhamrai correspondent of Jugantor, has been missing since the incident, Azharul alleged.
Sub-inspector Kamrul Islam of Nawabganj Police Station said they have visited the spot and were investing into the incident.
Feni, Dec 24 (UNB) – Mentioning that army does not belong to any party or alliance, Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader on Monday said there is nothing to be delighted at their deployment ahead of the 11th parliamentary elections.
“Army has taken positions in districts to discharge their duties for the sake of a free and fair election. A quarter is much delighted with the army deployment. But they should keep in mind that they won’t work for any particular party. Their role will be neutral,” he said.
Quader, also Road Transport and Bridges Minister, came up with the remarks while addressing an election rally of the AL-led Grand Alliance candidate Lt Gen (retd) Masud Uddin Chowdhury (Plough) at Ataturk High School ground in Daganbhuiyan upazila.
The ruling party leader also urged all not to make army controversial.
AL contestant Nizam Uddin Hazari for Feni-2 constituency, district AL President Abdur Rahman and its senior vice-president Akram Hossain Humayun were, among others, present at the rally with upazila AL president Master Kamal Uddin in the chair.
Dhaka, Dec 24 (UNB) – The ruling Awami League on Monday urged the Election Commission to arrest BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami men, involved in attacking its activists, to ensure a peaceful polls atmosphere.
A 10-member delegation of AL’s Election Conducting Committee, led by M Akhtaruzzaman, submitted the demands in writing to the EC at the Nirbachon Bhaban in the city.
Akhtaruzzaman said five leaders and activists of the party had been killed and more than 250 others were injured in election violence. He claimed a number of houses of the Hindu minority had also been attacked.
He demanded arrest of the BNP and Jamaat men involved in those incidents. “Attacks and arson are criminal offences and violate the Electoral Code of Conduct,” he said.
On Sunday, the ruling party requested the administration to arrest BNP-Jamaat activists, who it claimed, were attacking AL’s processions, assaulting its supporters and setting fire to offices of other democratic parties and Awami League allies.
Akhtaruzzaman on Monday also criticised Jatiya Oikyafront for welcoming the deployment of armed forces, saying there was no reason for getting excited over army deployment as they would carry out their duties professionally.
Dhaka, Dec 24 (UNB) – Jatiya Oikyafront chief Dr Kamal Hossain on Monday said army has been entrusted with a tough task to create an atmosphere for a free, fair, credible and inclusive election, and hoped that they will uphold their neutrality.
He, however, said some incidents of obstructions to and attacks on opposition candidates and their supporters today after the deployment of army are totally unexpected.
“Army was deployed from today. We hope they’ll play a neutral and effective role as they did in the past. Some incidents of obstructions to and attacks on opposition candidates and their supporters after the deployment of army are totally unexpected,” he said while addressing a press conference at Oikyafront’s Purana Paltan office.
Dr Kamal said the nation expects the role of army in creating a congenial atmosphere for holding a free, fair, neutral and participatory election. “The army has been entrusted with this tough task to create an atmosphere across the country.”
He alleged that there is a ‘blueprint’ to hold a lopsided election in the country. “This won’t be acceptable to people with good senses and those believe in democracy. This will be suicidal. If this happens, the country and the nation will face a great damage.”
The Oikyafront chief expressed the hope that the patriotic army will stand by the nation at this moment.
Replying to a question, Dr Kamal said the Election Commission (EC) should give the Oikyafront a scope to field its fresh candidates where candidatures of ‘Sheaf of Paddy’ have been annulled. “The Election to those seats should be rescheduled.”
He reaffirmed that their alliance will be there in the election race till the last under any circumstance.
Speaking at the programme, BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said the government along with the Election Commission is turning the election into a farce. “People can’t even think of such an election atmosphere.”
He said they sought permission from the police for holding a rally at Suhrawardy Udyan on December 27, but the Dhaka Metropolitan Police still did not give them permission.
Earlier, Nagorik Oikya convener Mahmudur Rahman Manna read out a written speech of the Oikyafront chief.
In the written speech, Dr Kamal said a ‘chaotic and anarchic’ situation has been prevailing in the country with little improvement since the announcement of the election schedule. “Rather, the incidents of violence are growing gradually.”
He said the Election Commission did not take any step to stop ‘one-sided’ attacks on the opposition candidates and their supporters to improve the election atmosphere.
The Oikyafront chief alleged that opposition candidates and their supporters are coming under attack in presence of police in many areas.
He alleged that the government is playing a ‘mysterious’ role in giving foreign election observers visa as part of its move to obstruct them from coming to Bangladesh.
Dr Kamal urged the EC to take steps immediately to remove the barriers created by the government to local and foreign election observers.
Narrating different incidents of attacks on Oikyafront candidates and their followers at different parts of the country, he claimed that over 7,000 leaders and activists of their alliance have been arrested since the announcement of the election schedule.
Under the circumstances, Dr Kamal urged all, including the youth and students, to take position in favour of truth and fairness from their respective positions, and cast votes in a festive mood on December 30 to make the ongoing movement for ‘restoration’ of democracy a success.
Dhaka, Dec 24 (UNB) - Jatiya Oikyafront chief Dr Kamal Hossain on Monday said those who try to deprive people of their voting right are the enemies of independence and successors of Pakistan’s Yahya Khan.
“People waged the Liberation War with a dream of becoming the country’s owners and establishing their voting right. We’re now untied to cast our votes but those who’re trying to deprive us of the voting right are the enemies of independence and successors of Yahya Khan (of Pakistan),” he said.
Dr Kamal was addressing a programme arranged by Sammilito Peshajibi Parishad as the chief guest.
“Even after 47 years of the country’s independence, we’ve to go to election through waging a movement. What can be more shameful than this?” questioned Dr Kamal.
“Who’ve brought this shame for us? We were supposed to exercise our franchise with enthusiasm and joy. But, there’s no congenial atmosphere for voting. “
Those who try to obstruct people from exercising their voting right have no respect for independence, no respect for Bangabandhu, Tajuddin and the lakhs of martyrs, he added.
“We’ve earned independence sacrificing the blood of lakhs of martyrs. Martyrs entrusted with the responsibility of protecting our independence and the voting right of people. We’ve to elect our representatives through exercising our franchise to protect our independence,” Kamal said.
“We’re untied to use our voting right… we’ve to safeguard the trust of martyrs. No autocrat will be allowed to stay there in power,” he added.
The Oikyafront chief urged the voters to go to polling stations early in the morning on December 30 and stay there to check vote rigging and all other irregularities. “You all remain united so that no one can obstruct voters.”
Recalling the glorious role of Bangladesh Police in the country’s Liberation War, he called upon its members not to indulge in any unfair and unethical acts regarding the election.
“I would like to remind the IGP and additional IGPs that obeying any unlawful order is a crime. You please send such a message to your force members, and ask them not to follow any unlawful order of the government high-ups. Don’t illegally attack common people,” Dr Kamal said.
He also urged the Armed Forces to protect people’s voting rights as the successors of martyrs of the Liberation War. “It’s your responsibility to protect the Constitution and people’s voting rights. Those who issue any order against the Constriction are criminals. Paying heed to their order is also a crime.”
Dr Kamal, also the president of Gano Forum, said the government considers itself as an ‘emperor and people are their subjects’. “The people of an independent country are citizens, not anybody’s subjects.”
Kamal warned that the government will not be able to suppress people with its repressive acts. “Bangalees can’t be scared. I’m throwing a challenge to encounter us face to face. Those who attack innocent people with goons are cowards. It’s not possible to kill the country’s 17-18 crore people.”
Krishak Sramik Janata League president Abdul Kader Siddiqui, Nagorik Oikya convener Mahmudur Rahman Manna, BNP standing committee member Nazrul Islam Khan, Gano Forum’s executive president Subrata Chowdhury, general secretary Mostafa Mohsin Montu, Gonoshasthya Kendra founder Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury and leaders of different professional bodies spoke at the programme.