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29 October, 2017 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 29 October, 2017 01:21:30 AM
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Khaleda motorcade attacked in Feni

STAFF REPORTER
Khaleda motorcade attacked in Feni
Some of those who attacked the motorcade of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia in Feni yesterday are seen on motorcycles(top); the picture of a vandalised microbus that was carrying members of the motorcade(bottom). Independent Photos

BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia’s motorcade came under attack in Feni when she was on her way to Cox’s Bazar to distribute relief materials among Rohingya refugees yesterday. The unknown criminals injured several journalists and vandalized 20 vehicles.

Witnesses said some 40 to 50 youths, equipped with machetes and bamboo sticks and roaring slogans of ‘Joy Bangla’, abruptly attacked the motorcade when it was passing the Fatehpur railway crossing around 4.30 pm.

The gang started attacking the motorcade from Star Line Petrol Pump, which is owned by local Awami League leader Major Haji Alauddin, witnesses said.

Locals said 15 to 20 vehicles, including five belonging to the media, were damaged. Several journalists, including senior reporter of Channel 71 Shafique Ahmed and his cameraperson Alam Hossain and Channel i cameraperson Monir, were injured. Ahmed, too, alleged that he and his cameraperson had been beaten up and their car damaged at Fatehpur.

The gang vandalized the vehicles belonging to Prothom Alo, Daily Star, DBC Television, Ekushey TV, Channel i, Ekattor TV, and Boishakhi TV.

Another gang of bikers carried out a second attack on media persons and their cars in front of Seven Star hotel at Lalpur in Feni when they were having lunch around 4.45pm. Besides, a vehicle of NTV came under attack at Mirsharai in Chittagong at7.35 pm, leaving broadcast journalist Abu Sayeed injured, alleged the BNP chairperson’s media wing officer Shamsuddin Didar.

Khaleda made a stopover at the Feni circuit house at 4.45 pm. She was scheduled to stay there for the night and resume

her journey to Chittagong at 6.45 am. Reacting to the attack, BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi held a press conference in Dhaka and described the onslaught an act of “terrorism”.

He said, “The government unleashed terrorists on the motorcade of the BNP chairperson, who was going to meet the Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazar. We did not get any response from the administration to assist us on the journey.”

“It was a prescheduled programme. We sought the administration’s cooperation so that no problems crop up. But the chairperson’s motorcade came under attack,” he added.

“Even when she was in London, Khaleda Zia decided to visit the Rohingyas once she returned home. Accordingly, she started her journey yesterday. But trees were felled in Feni so that the road was blocked. The AL-sponsored terrorists attacked her motorcade at Kutumbapur and Munitola areas of Chandina. AL supporters even attacked BNP cadres at Mirsharai,” he claimed.

According to the schedule, Khaleda will distribute relief materials among the Rohingyas and is likely to return to Dhaka on Tuesday.

Accompanied by party secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir and vice-chairman Shamsuzz-aman Dudu, Khaleda started her journey at 10.40 am from her Gulshan residence and reached Kanchpur Bridge after three hours.

Hundreds of local BNP leaders were standing on both sides of the road, chanting slogans and holding banners and festoons bearing pictures of Khaleda and BNP vice-chairman Tareque Rahman. The local leaders even chanted the names of the possible candidates for the next general elections whenever the motorcade crossed the different districts.

Thousands of leaders and workers gathered at Comilla to applaud the chairperson. But local BNP leaders alleged that local Juba League and Chhatra League supporters attacked the BNP leaders and workers who had come to greet Khaleda.

Later, police brought the situation under control, sources said. Khaleda’s motorcade crossed Comilla around 4 pm. Among the injured journalists, Channel 71 Shafique Ahmed was admitted at the Chittagong Metropolitan Hospital in the port city, his cameraperson Alam Hossain told The Independent last night.

Our Chittagong correspondent informed that Khaleda Zia safely reached Chittagong Circuit House around 8:30 pm last night.

UNB adds: BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia reached Chittagong safely yesterday night as she has embarked on a four-day tour of Cox's Bazar to visit the Rohingyas who have taken shelter there in the face of persecution in their own country, Myanmar. After a halt at Feni circuit house, Khaleda started the journey again for the port cityat 6:52 pm and reached Chittagong circuit house around10:50 pm.

It took her nearly two hours to reach the circuit house from Chittagong city gate as BNP leaders and activists staged a huge showdown in the city.

She will stay overnight at Chittagong circuit house, and again start her journey for Cox's Bazar around 11am today.

Reaching Cox's Bazar around 5pm, she will stay overnight at the circuit house there today. Khaleda will go to Ukhia tomorrow noon to visit the Rohingya camps at Balukhali, Boalmara and Jamtoli and return to Chittagong in the evening. She will stay overnight at the Chittagong circuit house on Monday and finally return to Dhaka on Tuesday. As the national election is getting closer, BNP's nomination aspirants will try to draw Khaleda's attention with big showdowns at different points in their respective areas from Gulshan to Cox's Bazar demonstrating their popularity and strength.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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