BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said on Wednesday that violent clash between BNP activists and police outside the party’s central office at Nayapaltan was planned by the government to foil the party’s upcoming divisional rally in Dhaka on December 10.
“I came to Nayapaltan and tried to enter my party office after taking permission from the Home Minister and Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Commissioner. Still, police officials barred me from going inside, which is totally unacceptable in a democratic country,” Fakhrul said while sitting on the footpath outside BNP’s central office after the violence.
Fakhrul added that the government might have any other ill motive behind the day’s clash.
“I’ve called upon the Home Minister and the DMP commissioner to withdraw police from the area immediately and restore a peaceful environment here. We’ll definitely hold the government responsible for today’s unexpected incident,” Fakhrul added.
Fakhrul further said that the government has committed a heinous crime by letting police to raid BNP’s office.
“Only police will be able to tell if there was any bomb inside our party office or not. By raiding our office and planting explosives in there, police have destroyed democratic principles,” Fakhrul said.
Asked about the allegation that BNP activists had entered the office carrying bags containing explosives, Fakhrul strongly denied the allegation, saying that it’s police who had entered the office with bags.
The BNP leader also said that Awami League is a political party, which continuously deceives people.
“The Home Minister had told me to go to our party office, saying that there won’t be any problem. Such a lie from him proves that Awami League is a party of traitors,” Fakhrul Said.
Replying to a question, Fakhrul added that there is no environment for holding a rally at this point. He also said that BNP will arrange a press conference at the Lakeshore Hotel on Thursday to brief the journalists about BNP’s next move.
Meanwhile, DMP Commissioner Khondker Golam Faruq justified the police action, saying that they’ve conducted an anti-terrorism drive and found cocktails inside rice and lentil sacks.
Tension was mounting for the last few days regarding the stalemate over the selection of venue for BNP’s December 10 rally. Party activists were gathering almost every day outside BNP’s Nayapaltan office and conducting political showdowns.
The presence of party workers increased on Wednesday. To keep the situation under control, more than a thousand police members were deployed in the area.
Around 3:00pm, the party activists gathered in front of the office and started chanting slogans. Sensing that the situation could be turning volatile, police asked the party members to leave the area immediately. This resulted in a heated argument and at one point, police started to beat the activists with batons to disperse them.
Taking shelter in nearby lanes, BNP activists started throwing brickbats in return. To quell the protesters, police fired tear gas and rubber bullets towards them, which injured around 50 people.
Falling sick due to inhaling tear gas, some 200 activists took shelter inside the BNP office. Later, police conducted a drive inside the office and arrested around 100 of these activists along with party leaders like Ruhul Kabir Rizvi Ahmed and Shahiduddin Chowdhury Annie.
In another development, police obstructed Mahmudur Rahman Manna-led Ganatantra Mancha at the Nightingale Intersection of the capital from advancing towards Naya Paltan.