BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Saturday alleged that police are trying to hush up its failure and indifference to contain violence in the city’s New Market area and the involvement of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) in it.
“BNP thinks that this illegitimate government is resorting to its old game. While people are blaming police inaction and indifference for not being able to stop the clashes for two days in a row, the police are trying to cover up their own failures and Awami cadres’ involvement by arresting innocent BNP leader Makbul and filing cases against others purely with a political motive,” he said.
Speaking at a press conference at BNP chairperson’s Gulshan office, the BNP leader also said their party is deeply concerned and upset over the series of clashes between traders and Dhaka College students in the New Market area that killed two people and injured many others, including journalists.
“This incident has exposed how fragile the law and order situation in the country is. A suspicion has been created in public minds over the inaction of police as horrific attacks and counter-attacks happened and terrorists wearing helmets and equipped with arms and weapons beat people to death in their (police’s) presence,” he said.
Fakhrul alleged that cases were filed against 1,200 people mentioning the names of 24 leaders of BNP and its associate bodies instead of arresting the real offenders who engaged in the clashes wearing helmets. “BNP strongly protest and express anger ovet it.”
He said it has been proved through different media reports that the ‘cadres’ of Chhatra League were involved in the violence. “At least three people--who are active activists of Dhaka College Chhatra League--have been identified from the video footages. It is also clear from the media reports that the terrible terrorists of various groups of Chhatra League were responsible for this incident mainly due to collect extortion and establish their supremacy.”
The BNP leader also said the ruling party student body leaders have long been indulging in massive extortion and terrorist activities in the adjoining areas of New Market. “Chhatra League and Juba League are establishing a reign of terror with the help of police. This entire area is under the control of Chhatra League.”
Stating that there are many groups of Dhaka College Chhatra League in the area in absence of any specific committee of the ruling party student body, he said the incident of clashes often occurs there due to conflicts among those groups.
Fakhrul said their party thinks that the government is deliberately implicating BNP in New Market violence to divert people’s attention to a different direction from its failure to deliver on all fronts, control soaring prices of daily essentials and rampant corruption.
“The government is conspiring to arrest BNP leaders and activists in the same way as before. Lawsuits, arrests, enforced disappearances, murders and assassinations are the main weapons of this government and it is trying to keep BNP away from politics by using these weapons,” he alleged.
The BNP leader said the present ‘unelected’ Awami League government has taken a stance against the country’s people by using all the state machineries to stay in power illegally for the last one decade.
“There is now no security in people's lives and no business environment. The judiciary has been politicised while corruption has been institutionalised. Human rights are being grossly violated. A fascist state system has been established by enacting repressive laws one after another in violation of the constitution,” he observed.
He said BNP will stage rallies in all metropolitan cities, including in the capital, on April 26 demanding the release of arrested BNP leader Makbul Hossain and withdrawal of false cases filed by police in connection with the bloody violence in the city’s New Market area.
At least 40 people were injured as a group of Dhaka College students and shopkeepers in the New Market area fought pitched battles Tuesday following a brawl at a fast food shop on Monday night.
Later, two injured people—computer accessories delivery man Nahid Hasan and shop employee Morsalin--died at Dhaka Medical College Hospital on Tuesday and early Thursday.
Four cases were filed in connection with the violence while police on Friday arrested former New Market thana BNP President Makbul Hossain in one of the cases on charges of obstructing police in performing duties, assaulting law enforcement officers, and damaging property during the clashes.