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15 November, 2018 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 15 November, 2018 01:26:53 AM
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20 hurt, vehicles torched as BNP men, police clash

Staff Reporter, Dhaka
20 hurt, vehicles torched as BNP men, police clash
A helmeted man vandalises a police car with a chair during a street fight between BNP activists and police in front of the party’s central office at Nayapaltan in the capital yesterday. In the rear ground another car bursts into flame. Photo: Nabiulla Nabi

BNP activists clashed with the police in front of the party's central office at Nayapaltan yesterday, heating up the country’s political situation ahead of the general election. At least 20 party activists and supporters were injured.

The agitated activists allegedly set fire to two police vehicles and a private car and damaged several others, while the police charged batons and fired rubber bullets to disperse the BNP activists.

Police sources said at least 20 policemen also suffered injuries when the BNP activists hurled brick chips on them during the clash.

Terming the attack on police and its leaders and activists at Nayapaltan 'premeditated', BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir yesterday alleged that Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) men wearing helmets took part in the mayhem.

The BNP leader came up with the allegations at a press conference at BNP chairperson's Gulshan office.

"Police without any provocation started obstructing our leaders and activists when they were peacefully gathering there in processions. They also lobbed teargas shells and opened fire on party men, leaving our many activists injured," said BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir.

Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader, on the other hand, claimed BNP leaders and activists were responsible for the attack on the police.

“I think the BNP is trying to create anarchy to foil the general election and not take part in it,” he said while speaking at a press conference at the AL president’s office at Dhanmondi. He alleged that BNP leader Mirza Abbas led the attack on the police without any provocation.

The incident started suddenly at about 12:45pm when BNP standing committee member Mirza Abbas, along with several hundred party activists and supporters, was proceeding towards the party office for collecting the nomination form for the Dhaka-8 constituency.

Party activists were staging a big show of strength by halting traffic. At one stage, the police tried to remove the BNP activists from the road and became locked in an altercation with them. The law enforcers then went into action and started charging batons on the activists to disperse them.

A police car allegedly ploughed through the gathering, injuring many, as they refused to keep away from the road. The BNP activists and police began chase and counter-chase for about half an hour. The police charged batons and fired rubber bullets, while the BNP activists hurled brickbats at the police.

The party activists, ‘many of them wearing helmets’, set fire to three cars, including two of the police, and vandalised several other vehicles during the clash.

Of the injured, 12 persons with bullet wounds were identified as Shamsul Haque and Asaduzzaman of Pirojpur, Mehedi Hasan Miraj and Orin of Mugda, Kader and Hridoy Sheikh of Paltan, Makbul Hossain of Motijheel, Monir Hossain of Sabujbagh, Mostaq of Khilgaon, Sumon of Kalabagan, Mohiuddin Ratan of airport area, Sakhawat Hossain of Madaripur.

Many other injured were taken to hospitals for treatment, according to eyewitnesses.

Additional deputy commissioner Shiblee Noman told reporters that at least 20 policemen suffered injuries when BNP activists hurled brick bats on them. They were undergoing treatment at the Rajarbagh Police Lines Hospital, he said.

Hundreds of BNP leaders and activists started thronging the area in front of the BNP office since the morning, as the party continued to sell nomination forms for the third consecutive day yesterday.

Replying to a question, Fakhrul said the attack on leaders is affecting the election-time atmosphere. “We condemn this,” he added.

BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi alleged that the attack had been carried out at the directive of the head of the government.

Speaking at a rally in front of the party's central office immediately after the incident, Rizvi advised party leaders and activists not to fall in the trap, saying the government would try to provoke them.

The BNP, which decided to take part in the forthcoming elections slated for December 30, started selling nomination forms with the purchase of three nomination papers for its jailed chairperson Khaleda Zia.

BNP sold 277 nomination forms on the third consecutive day, while 337 aspirants have submitted their nomination at the party office till 4pm yesterday. Earlier, 1,326 nomination papers were sold on the first day and 1,896 on the second day. The sale of nomination papers will continue until tomorrow.

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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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