POST TIME: 16 December, 2018 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 16 December, 2018 01:09:56 AM
Oikyafront writes to EC for action over attacks
Rivals clash at places as poll campaign continues
BNP’s Mahbub Uddin Khokon bullet-hit in Noakhali
Staff Reporter, Dhaka

Rivals clash at places as poll campaign continues

Candidates, campaigners and supporters of the BNP, Jatiya Oikyafront and the Leftist Democratic Alliance came under attack, allegedly by ruling party activists, at different places in the country yesterday. BNP candidate Barrister Mahbub Uddin Khokon was hit by a bullet. Around 150 BNP candidates have been attacked by Awami League activists and law enforcement agency members across the country so far, BNP senior joint secretary general, Rizvi Ahmed, claimed yesterday.

At a press briefing, Rizvi said attacks are taking place in all 300 parliamentary constituencies under the very nose of the police. Ruling party activists are also tearing down posters and removing banners of BNP candidates and damaging loudspeakers, said Rizvi. Members of law enforcement agencies have detained BNP candidates, violating the rights of electioneering, in combing operations across the country, he said.

In Noakhali, BNP candidate for the Noakhali-1 constituency, Barrister Mahbub Uddin Khokon, and three other party activists reportedly suffered bullet wounds and 20 others were injured in an attack allegedly by Awami League men, in the Sonaimuri Bypass area of Sonaimuri upazila, yesterday afternoon.

Sonaimuri upazila BNP president, Motahar Hossain Manik, claimed that when they reached Sonaimuri Bazar after a meeting on the Sonaimuri High School ground, a group of Awami League leaders and activists swooped down on them.

The ruling party men opened fire on them, leaving four people, including Khokon, wounded, he said. The wounded were taken to Noakhali General Hospital.

Dr Syed Ahmed Azim, a medical officer of the hospital, confirmed that Khokon and three other BNP activists sustained bullet wounds.

However, inspector (investigation) of Sonaimuri police station, Emdadul Haque, said a group of BNP leaders and activists, led by Khokon, brought out a procession in the area with sticks after Maghrib prayers.

Asked about the bullet wound the BNP candidate had sustained, the police officer claimed that there was no firing. "He may have been hurt by crude bomb splinters," he said.

In Dhaka, BNP candidate for the Dhaka-8 constituency, Mirza Abbas, and his supporters came under attack, allegedly by ruling party activists, during his election campaign at Segunbagicha yesterday.

Talking to journalists, the BNP standing committee member claimed that at least 70 to 80 of his supporters were injured in the attack in the afternoon.

Around 100 people launched the attack on the BNP candidate when he, along with his supporters, was campaigning near Shegunbagicha's kitchen market area.

Later, at a press conference at his Shahjahanpur residence, Abbas said: "I could have died had I not been saved by my leaders and activists during the attack." He strongly condemned the attack.

The BNP leader said "cadres" of the Jubo League and Chhatra League, under the protection of the police, attacked him and his supporters.  "They beat up my leaders and activists mercilessly with rods and sticks, leaving at least 60 of them injured."

He said a good number of his supporters were admitted to hospital with severe injuries.

Before the campaign, Abbas said he sent separate letters to Ramna and Shahbagh police stations, requesting them to ensure his security during the campaign. But they didn't take any step.

The BNP candidate said he even requested two police officers to prevent the attackers, but they did not act.

However, Abbas said he will continue to campaign, braving the attacks and repressions.

In Sirajganj, on Friday at least 15 people, including four policemen and BNP candidate for Sirajganj-2, Romana Mahmud, were injured as the police and BNP men clashed in the College Road area in the district's Sadar upazila last night.

Romana, wife of BNP leader Iqbal Hasan Mahmud Tuku, returned home after treatment, said Saidur Rahman Bachhu, secretary of Sirajganj district BNP.

The condition of two victims was stated to be critical, and they would be brought to Dhaka for treatment, BNP sources said.

Abu Daud, officer-in-charge of Sirajganj Sadar police station, said the clash began around 7:00pm, when BNP supporters from a rally led by Romana hurled brickbats on the cops and attacked policemen in the area.

In Chattogram, the police arrested a BNP leader from an electioneering rally in the Kapashgola area of Chawkbazar in the port city yesterday.

The arrested, Sabuktogin Siddiqi Makki, is the vice-president of the Chattogram city unit of the BNP and former councillor of ward No. 16 (Chawkbazar) of the city corporation.

Makki's younger brother Afzal Karim Siddiqi said the police arrested him around 12 noon when he was attending a rally of BNP candidate, Doctor Shahadat Hossain.

Later, he was shown arrested in a sabotage case and was produced before the court, said his brother.

Nezam Uddin, officer-in-charge of Chawkbazar police station, said Mokki was accused in several sabotage cases and was absconding.

However, Chattogram city BNP publication secretary, Idris Ali, claimed Makki was on bail in all cases. "The police arrested him without any reason as he joined the election rally," he added.

Besides, at least 10 other candidates of the alliance were attacked across the country, allegedly by ruling party men, during their electoral campaign.

They are Afroza Abbas, BNP candidate for Dhaka-9; Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, secretary general of BNP; Golam Mohammad Siraj, BNP candidate for Bogura-5; Sharifuzzaman, BNP candidate for Chuadanga-1; Manjurul Alam Bimol, 20-party candidate for Natore-1; Professor Abu Sayeed, Jatiya Oikyafront candidate for Pabna-1; Fariduzzaman, Jatiya Oikyafront candidate for Narail-2; Jeba Amin, BNP candidate for Jhalakathi-2; and Azharul Islam Manna, BNP candidate for Narayanganj-3.

BNP secretary general, Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, alleged that the government was doing everything within its power "to eliminate us from the political arena".

Alamgir further accused the Election Commission of “carrying out the government’s orders” and not creating a level playing field for the coming polls.

“The administration is not neutral and is helping the government to win the polls,” he said.

Leftist Democratic Alliance complaint

The campaigning and electioneerings of the Leftist Democratic Alliance (LDA) in Dhaka-6, Dhaka-12, Dhaka-13, Dhaka-14, Dhaka-17, Patuakhali -4, Kushtia-3, Satkhira-1, Jamalpur-2 and Dinajpur-4 seats were hindered.

The LDA filed a complaint to the EC over obstruction of their campaign in at least 10 constituencies.

There was an attack on Dhaka-12 candidate, Junaid Saki’s campaign in Farmgate on December 13.

Promotional posters were allegedly torn down and campaigning was obstructed on December 11 and 12 in the Mogbazar, Eskaton and Manipur areas.

The police allegedly thwarted the campaign of Kushtia-3 constituency candidate, Shafiur Rahman Shafi.

Awami League-led alliance activists allegedly attacked a roadside meeting held by leftist candidate for Satkhira-1, Azizur Rahman.

A group of Awami League workers allegedly attacked "kaste" supporters in the Khalishkhali Bazar area on Friday.

The CPB general secretary requested the EC to take action on these allegations.

The Oikyofront and BNP have demanded exemplary punishment for those who attacked the motorcade of Dr Kamal Hossain on Friday.

The Jatiya Oikyafront yesterday wrote three separate letters to the Election Commission (EC) to press their demands yesterday.

BNP joint secretary general, Syed Moazzem Hossain Alal, handed over all the three letters to EC secretary, Helal Uddin Ahmed, at the EC headquarters.

The Oikyafront leaders also demanded withdrawal of the Siraganj Superintendent of Police (SP) and officer-in-charge of Sirajganj Sadar police station following the attack on Romana Mahmud, BNP candidate for Sirajganj-2, on Friday.

They also urged the EC to take steps against the attacks on BNP leaders and their supporters all over the country ahead of the general election, scheduled to be held on December 30.

On Friday, the motorcade of Jatiya Oikyafront leader, Dr Kamal Hossain, was allegedly attacked at the Martyred Intellectuals’ Mausoleum in the Mirpur area of Dhaka, as he was coming out after paying tribute to the martyred intellectuals.

Meanwhile, a BNP contestant and his supporters were reportedly attacked in Chandpur while the motorcades of BNP candidate for Manikganj-1 and Jatiya Party contestant for Manikganj-2, and the vehicle of Patuakhali-3 BNP runner's wife allegedly came under attack yesterday, adds UNB.

In Chandpur, BNP contestant for Chandpur-2 Dr Jalal Uddin and his supporters came under attack twice at Ludhua in Matlab North upazila during electioneering, leaving 10 people injured.

Witnesses said a group of AL men swooped on the BNP candidate and his followers while going to offer fateha at the graves of his parents around 1pm.

The attackers also vandalised Jalal's vehicle.

Police fired several shots in the air to bring the situation under control.

In Manikganj, leaders and activists of Juba League reportedly attacked the motorcade of former MP and Jatiya Party runner from Manikganj-2 parliamentary seat SM Abdul Mannan in Kanthapara area of Harirampur upazila in the afternoon, leaving nine people injured.

Mannan claimed that the Juba League men swooped on his motorcade equipped with sticks around 2:30pm as they reached Kanthapara for electioneering.

They vandalised his vehicle and several motorcycles, he said.

Awami League leaders and activists allegedly attacked the convoy of BNP candidate for Manikganj-1 SA Jinnah in Doulatpur upazila headquarters in the evening.

The attackers vandalised six vehicles at that time, leaving five BNP men injured.

In Patuakhali, the vehicle carrying the family members of BNP candidate in Patuakhali-3 Golam Maula Rony, including his wife Runu Begum and sister, was attacked in Madina Masjid area of Golachipa upazila at noon.

In Bhola, at least 50 people were injured in a clash between BNP and Awami League activists in Lalmohan upazila headquarters yesterday morning.

The injured were admitted to Lalmohan Hospital, said witnesses adding that two motorcycles were vandalised and another one was set on fire.

Later in the noon, several journalists including channel-i Bhola correspondent Harun-ur-Rashid, were injured when a group of people swooped on them during a live telecast from in front of the BNP leader's residence, witnesses said.

Awami League nominated candidate for Bhola-3 constituency Nurunnabi Chowdhury Shaon alleged that BNP men attacked his supporters.

Meanwhile in Faridpur, an election office of Awami League was torched at Harukandi early yesterday.

President of ward-14 AL unit of Faridpur municipality Siddiqur Rahman said miscreants set fire to their party's election office by the Dhaka-Barishal highway sometime after the midnight.

The fire burned down the ruling party's office and two nearby shops, he said.

Police is looking into the matter.  

Besides, police filed a case against over 200 leaders and activists of BNP and Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami in Sirajganj Sadar upazila for attacking police and obstructing them from discharging their duties and arrested three BNP men in connection with the case.