At least 100 BNP activists were injured during a series of clashes with ruling Awami League rivals onThursday at capital’s Mirpur area over holding a scheduled rally, said the opposition party.
“We took permission from police to hold the rally and accordingly asked our activists to join. As our leaders, activists were coming with a procession, activists of AL, Jubo League, and Bangladesh Chaatra League (BCL) attacked them with sticks, rods,” said Aminul Haque, member secretary of Dhaka North unit of BNP.
Police also lobbed tear shells at BNP activists, he said. “At least 100 of our activists were injured and 15 were held by police,” said the BNP leader.
Such an attack on a protest rally against price hikes of essentials proves that the government wants to prevent democratic rights in a fascist style, said Aminul.
Sheikh Bazlur Rahman, president of Dhaka metropolitan north Awami League said a party rally was scheduled there. But BNP also announced a rally later at the same place.
He said AL activists were directed to avoid confrontation considering the rallies called by the parties at the same place and same time, “But some overexcited people got involved in a clash,”.
The trouble started around 2pm as the ruling party activists reportedly barred their BNP rivals from going to their scheduled rally venue in Mukul Fouz field at Mirpur Section No-6, according to witnesses..
Witnesses said the clash occurred around the Mukul Fouz field as the BNP activists tried to resist the ruling party rivals.
At one stage, police rushed to the spot and lobbed teargas shells to bring the situation under control.
However, sporadic clashes continued at different lanes in the area till 3:15pm.
Iqbal Hossain, former joint general secretary of Dhaka north city unit of BNP said the ruling party activists vandalised their makeshift stage of the rally and took a position in the venue in a bid to foil the programme.
Officer-in-Charge of Pallabi police station, Parvez said the agitation started after activists of both the parties were moving toward the rally spot.
“The situation is under control now and the BNP activist could not hold a rally after the clash. They left the spot,” said OC Parvez.
Contacted, Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC) of Pallabi Zone Arif Hossain said that clashes took place centering the BNP's rally. He, however, denied the attack on the rally by the ruling party activists. “ What they (BNP men) are telling is absolutely false”, he said.
Several police members were injured when they tried to disperse the agitators. At one point, when the BNP activists attacked the police, they first fired teargas shells.
Then several rounds of rubber bullets were fired to deal with the situation, the ADC (Pallabi Zone) added.
Earlier on September 10, BNP announced to hold public rallies in 16 spots under its Dhaka south and north city units until September 27 in protest against the increase in prices of essentials, fuel and transport fares.
The rallies are also meant for registering the party’s protest against the killings of Bhola Chhatra Dal leader Noor-e-Alam, Swechchasebak Dal leader Abdur Rahim and Narayanganj Jubo Dal leader Shaon Prodhan.
The party has so far held four rallies.