Dhaka, Dec 15 (UNB) - BNP on Saturday demanded the Election Commission take punitive actions against those attacked Jatiya Oikyafront's top leaders, including its chief Dr Kamal Hossain, in the city on Friday.
"We strongly demand immediate measures for identifying the terrorists and their patrons, and meting out exemplary punishment to them following investigation into the terror attack on the Jatiya Oikyafront leaders," it said in a letter sent to the Chief Election Commissioner.
A three-member BNP delegation, led by its joint secretary general Syed Moazzem Hossain Alal, handed over the letter, signed by Chairman of BNP Election Conducting Committee Nazrul Islam Khan, to EC Secretary Helal Uddin Ahmed.
As per the letter, Dr Kamal Hossain and his associates came under the attack while leaving the Martyred Intellectuals Memorials at Mirpur paying tributes to the martyred intellectuals on Friday.
Seven to eight cars of Dr Kamal's motorcade were damaged during the attack that left 30 leaders and activists of the alliance injured.
In the letter, BNP also demanded EC's directives to the authorities concerned to prevent the recurrence of such attacks in the days to come.
Besides, BNP placed a list of attacks carried out on the leaders of it and its alliance partners in different places across the country.
After submitting the letter, Alal told reporters that the administration, law enforcement agencies and ruling Awami League men are now the rivals of BNP and Jatiya Oikyafront.
He said they were lodging complaints with the EC, but the attackers continue their activities with double enthusiasm taking the advantage of EC's inactiveness.
Alal said BNP candidate Romana Mahmud was shot in her leg while electioneering in Sirajganj.
He alleged that law enforcers have become very ‘loyal’ to the government.
Noakhali, Dec 15 (UNB) – BNP candidate for Noakhali-1 constituency Barrister Mahbub Uddin Khokon and three other party activists reportedly suffered bullet wounds and 36 others were injured in a clash between Awami League and BNP men in Sonaimuri municipality on Saturday afternoon.
Witnesses said BNP leaders and activists, led by Khokon, party joint secretary general and general secretary of Supreme Court Bar Association, were returning after holding a rally at the Sonaimuri High School ground in the afternoon.
When they reached Sonaimur Bazar area, a group of Awami League leaders and activists swooped on them around 4:30pm, leading to a clash.
At one stage, police and the ruling party men opened fire on the BNP leaders and activists, leaving at least 40 people, including four with bullets, injured, the witnesses said.
The injured were taken to Noakhali General Hospital where Dr Syed Ahmed Azim, a residential medical officer of the hospital, confirmed that Khokon sustained bullet wounds.
Sonaimuri upazila BNP president Motahar Hossain Manik claimed that when they reached the Sonaimuri Bazar area after their rally, a group of Awami League leaders and activists swooped on them and opened fire on them. Later, police joined the ruling party men, he alleged.
However, upazila AL general secretary Monirul Islam Baker claimed that BNP men attacked their party leaders and activists without any provocation and vandalised several shops. “There’s no attack or firing from our side.”
Police super of the district Elias Sharif said a chase and counter-chase took place between the supporters of Awami League and BNP.
He said police fired several shots in the air to bring the situation under control.
The police super also said they were investigating the incident.
Inspector (investigation) of Sonaimuri Police Station Emdadul Haque said a group of BNP leaders and activists, led by Khokon, brought out a procession in the area with sticks after Maghrib prayers.
At one stage, they threw brick chips at police, resorted to vandalism and exploded several crude bombs, he said.
Asked about the bullet injury the BNP candidate received, the police official claimed that there was no firing. “He might have hurt himself by crude bomb splinters,” he said.
Meanwhile, BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi at a press conference in the capital claimed that policemen, led by officer-in-charge of Sonaimuri Police Station Abdul Mazid, opened fire on BNP leaders and activists from both sides – front and back – while they were electioneering in Sonaimuri Bazar area, leaving 30-35 party men, including Khokon, wounded by bullets.
He also claimed that the OC himself shot the BNP candidate in a bid to ‘kill’ him.
Of the injured, the condition of one, identified as Rubel, is stated to be critical, Rizvi said, adding that Sonaimuri municipality JCD vice-president Raju got his legs fractured in the attack.
Dhaka, Dec 15 (UNB) – Journalists cannot go for live telecast and telephonic conversations from a polling booth during voting in the upcoming general election, Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda said on Saturday.
"No live telecast will be allowed from rooms (booths), but journalists can do so from the premises of a polling station," he said while addressing a press conference at Nirbachan Bhaban in the city.
The CEC, however, said journalists can use mobile phones to take photographs inside polling booths except the secret place of casting ballot.
He said a number of journalists will not be allowed to enter a polling booth at a time as it will create hindrance to the activities of polling officials as well as voters.
The Presiding Officer of a centre will determine how many reporters can enter a polling booth at a time considering its space, Nurul Huda said.
He said the Commission is yet to take any decision over two proposals placed by law enforcement agencies before the EC to stop mobile banking and slow down the mobile internet speed to 2G from 4G for a certain time during the balloting.
In reply to a query, the CEC said a level-playing field has been created for the 11th parliamentary elections slated for December 30. "I think a level-playing field has been ensured as candidates can carry out electioneering. They face no obstruction while conducting the campaign," he said.
About the authority of the armed forces to be deployed in the election, Nurul Huda said the army can arrest troublemakers as per the law in case the situation turns worse. "Yes, they can make arrest. The power is bestowed upon them. If there’s a magistrate and situation turns worse, they can do so as per the law (the Criminal Code of Procedure, 1898)," he said responding to another query.
Three election commissioners -- MahbubTalukder, Kabita Khanom and Shahadat Hossain Chowdhury -- and EC Secretary Helal Uddin Ahmed were present at the press conference.
Dhaka, Dec 15 (UNB) - Jatiya Oikyafront senior leaders launched the alliance’s first election road march towards Mymensingh region from the capital’s Uttara area on Saturday to drum up public support in favour of the candidates of the ‘Sheaf of Paddy’.
Dr Kamal, who was supposed to lead the Oikyafront team, could not join the road march due to his illness.
The alliance leaders, led by Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD) president ASM Abdur Rob, started their journey for Mymensingh from Uttara’s Jasimuddin Road around 2pm.
BNP standing committee member Nazrul Islam Khan, vice-chairmen Selima Rahman and AZM Zahid Hossain, Krishak Sramik Janata League president Abdul Kader Siddiqui, Nagorik Oikya convener Mahmudur Rahman Manna and Gonoshasthya Kendra founder Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury, among others, joined the road march programme.
They held their first election rally in front of BNP candidate Salahuddin Sarker’s residence at Tongi of Gazipur and sought vote for him.
Speaking at the programme, Rob said the ruling party is trying to ‘stay aside’ from the election race fearing a defeat. “They’re looking for a way to halt the election.”
He urged people to cast their votes for Salahuddin Sarker, a BNP candidate for Gazipur-2 constituency.
The Oikyafront leaders are scheduled to hold six more rallies during the road march which will end on the premises of Sherpur municipality Park.
Earlier on December 12, the Oikyafront, a major opposition alliance led by Dr Kamal Hossain, formally flagged off its election campaign from Sylhet through offering fateha at the shrine of Hazrat Shahjalal (R).
Later, they offered fateha at the shrine of Shah Paran (R) and conducted electioneering in Sylhet city in favour of the ‘Sheaf of Paddy’.
Dhaka, Dec 15 (UNB) - Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda on Saturday said Friday's attack on Jatiya Okiyafront leader Dr Kamal Hossain's motorcade is unfortunate.
"It’s an unfortunate incident. He’s a senior citizen and famous person. Any attack on him is never expected," the CEC said replying to a question at a press conference at Nirbachan Bhaban in the city.
Nurul Huda further said, “It’s a criminal offence in the eye of law. Measures will be taken in this regard according to law.”
The CEC said the Commission will send their allegation, submitted over the incident, to the election enquiry committee to look into the matter.
He said the EC will take measures after receiving report from the enquiry committee.
Dr Kamal Hossain’s motorcade came under attack allegedly by ruling party activists near the Martyred Intellectuals Memorial at Mirpur on Friday morning while returning after paying tributes to the martyred intellectuals, leaving at least 10 people injured.
However, Dr Kamal, also the chief of Gano Forum that is a component of Jatiya Oikyafront, escaped the attack unhurt.