by Sahidul Hasan KhokonAn opposition activist was killed and several others injured as police clashed with angry Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) activists in Dhaka’s Paltan area. Clashes broke out between police and activists after the BNP announced a rally on 10 December.
“A BNP worker was shot dead in front of the party office in Paltan area in Dhaka. Several people from Naya Paltan area were brought to Dhaka Medical College Hospital,” Police Chowki Inspector Bachchu Miya told India Today.
“Doctors said 32-year-old Maqbool had bullet injuries on his body and died,” Inspector Bachchu Miya, head of the hospital’s police station, said.
Three others who were injured in the incident have been identified as Roni, Monir and Iqbal and are undergoing treatment at the hospital. The violence comes ahead of the party’s divisional rally in the capital on Saturday.
On Wednesday, tension spread in the capital over the upcoming rally and party workers started gathering at the central offices.
Clash before the proposed rally of the party
The violence comes amid rising tensions in Bangladesh over a proposed rally by former prime minister Khaleda Zia on Saturday as part of her intensified campaign against Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s ruling Awami League. BNP has demanded big anti government rally in Dhaka on 10 December.
Party leaders have announced that the government will be thrown out of power after this rally. The BNP had boycotted the previous two general elections in 2014 and 2018, claiming that any election would not be fair or credible while keeping the current government in power.
Eyewitnesses said the activists blocked the road in front of the offices and raised slogans. A large number of police personnel were deployed on the surrounding roads to maintain the law and order situation.
The clash between the BNP supporters and the police started at around 3 pm and when the police lathi-charged them, the workers started throwing bricks and stones. The police retaliated by firing rubber bullets and tear gas shells to disperse the crowd.
SWAT members were seen trying to bring the situation under control. Clashes continued for hours while SWAT teams and several platoons of riot police surrounded the BNP office with water cannons.
‘BNP people blasted the cocktail’
Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) commissioner Khandkar Ghulam Farooq said an operation was launched at the BNP’s Naya Paltan headquarters after they received information that they had stockpiled rice, pulses, sticks and cocktails.
“Today was office day. They performed without any prior permission. SWAT and M-16 have been used against them for trying to carry out subversive activities.”
The DMP commissioner said that the BNP men had detonated cocktails from his party office and that was the reason for the operation.
“We have increased security by increasing the number of police personnel. It was an official day, and they (BNP) had not taken prior permission to hold the rally.
In response to a question whether the BNP worker was killed, the police officer said they could not confirm the information.
“Senior officers were deployed to bring the situation under control,” said Akram Hussain, the duty officer of Paltan police station. The clashes disrupted traffic from Fakirapul to Nightingale Square.
BNP workers had entered the streets to escape from the police and continued to throw bricks and stones at the law enforcers. At one place the police barged into the street and beat them.
A large number of police personnel in Naya Paltan were on the main road and armored police vehicles stormed the area as a backup force.
Six senior BNP leaders in custody
Six senior BNP leaders have been detained in a clash between BNP workers and the police in Naya Paltan area of the capital on Wednesday.
The six detainees were identified as Dhaka Metropolitan South BNP coordinator Abdus Salam, North BNP coordinator Aman Ullah Aman, Senior Joint General Secretary Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, Joint General Secretary Khairul Kabir Khokon, Special Assistant to Khaleda Zia Shamsur Rahman Shimul Biswas and Publicity Secretary Shaheed Uddin. Happened in Chowdhary Annie.
Earlier on Wednesday evening, the police arrested BNP Dhaka Metropolitan North BNP convenor Aman Ullah Aman from the BNP central office in Dhaka. Earlier, BNP senior joint general secretary Ruhul Kabir Rizvi was arrested from the same office on Wednesday.
Shayrul Kabir Khan, a member of the BNP’s media cell, said the police arrested at least a hundred activists, including Aman Ullah Aman and Ruhul Kabir Rizvi. However, there has been no confirmation of the police detaining or arresting anyone.
A unit of DB’s Motijheel Division, led by Biplab Kumar Sarkar, Joint Commissioner (Operations) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police, entered the BNP’s central office at around 5 pm to conduct the raid. The leaders and workers who barricaded the door inside the BNP office were arrested.
‘BNP has started terrorist activities’
Awami League general secretary Obaidul Kader said on Wednesday that the BNP had started terrorist activities on the streets ahead of its rally to be held on December 10.
“BNP wants to take over the streets and Dhaka on 10th December. Sometime back, I got news that BNP has attacked the police in Naya Paltan. People know why they want to rally in Naya Paltan. can use.” Addressing a grand public meeting at Sheikh Kamal International Cricket Stadium, Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Kader said, “And expeditiously eliminate terrorism from there.”
Prime Minister and Awami League President Sheikh Hasina, who was the chief guest, addressed the rally organized by the Cox’s Bazar District Awami League.
Pointing to the BNP general secretary Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, the Awami League general secretary said, “Fakhrul sahib, don’t threaten to capture Dhaka, I want to say that our leaders and workers will guard the metropolis, districts, sub-districts, Wards and Neighbourhoods”.
Addressing party leaders and workers, Kader said: “There is no alternative to unity for our survival. I am not a blind supporter of anyone. I speak for the working people. There is no alternative to public leader Sheikh Hasina.” Not there.”
He said that this game will be played this December, during the next elections and agitations, adding that this game will also be played against money laundering and theft, vote rigging, Hawa Bhawan, corruption and fire terrorism.
Government conspired to thwart rally, says BNP
Meanwhile, BNP general secretary Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Wednesday claimed that the violent clash between BNP workers and police outside the party’s central office in Nayapaltan was orchestrated by the government to thwart the party’s upcoming divisional rally in Dhaka on December 10. was created.
“I went to Naya Paltan and tried to enter my party office after taking permission from the home minister and the Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) commissioner. Still, the police officials stopped me from going inside, which is totally unacceptable in a democratic country.
Fakhrul said that there could be some other evil intention of the government behind the day’s clash.
“I have called upon the Home Minister and DMP Commissioner to immediately remove the police from the area and restore peaceful atmosphere here. We will definitely hold the government responsible for today’s unexpected incident.
Fakhrul further said that the government has committed a heinous crime by allowing the police to raid the BNP office.
“Only the police will be able to tell whether there was a bomb inside our party office or not. By raiding our office and planting explosives there, the police have destroyed democratic principles.
When asked about the allegation that BNP workers entered the office carrying bags full of explosives, Fakhrul strongly denied the allegation, saying that it was the police who entered the office with the bags. The BNP leader also said that the Awami League is a political party which constantly cheats the people.
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