Awami League intra-party clashes on amid coronavirus

13 people killed, 483 injured since April

Tapos Kanti Das | Published: 00:00, Jul 15,2020


Intra-party clashes in the ruling Awami League and its associate organisations continue amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis, claiming lives of the party activists and leaving scores injured.

The clashes between the ruling party factions mostly occurred over establishing of supremacy in their area. Difference of opinions about following directions of senior leaders and even distribution of relief materials during the coronavirus crisis stoked the feuds, according to reports received from different parts of the country.

In the past one week, at least two people, including a leader of Bangladesh Chhatra League, student organisation of the AL, were killed and at least 42 were injured in three factional clashes.

At least 16 people — 12 BCL activists and 4 cops — were injured as two BCL groups clashed at Chattogram Medical College on Sunday immediately after deputy minister for education affairs Mohibul Hassan Chowdhoury Nowfel had left the campus.

The medical college unit BCL is reportedly clearly divided into two groups — one comprising of followers of Mohibul and the other that is aligned with Chattogram city mayor AJM Nasir Uddin.

On July 10, trader Akhter Hossain, 55, also brother of Cumilla City ward Juba League joint convener Shahjalal Alal, was killed and six others injured in an attack allegedly by the city Juba League senior joint-convener Md Alamgir Hossain and his relatives in Cumilla city.

Shahjalal told New Age that Alamgir attacked them for establishing supremacy in the area as a result of previous enmity and also because he did not invite Alamgir to a kite festival that he organised in the area marking the country’s founding president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s birth centenary on Friday.

On July 5, a Sirajganj district BCL leader Enamul Huq Bijoy died in a Dhaka Hospital, 10 days after he was attacked allegedly by his rival BCL leaders and activists in the district town on June 26.

At least 20 people, including district Juba League general secretary Ekramul Huq Ekram, were injured in intra-party clashes in the ruling party on July 7 in the district town over the death of Enamul, according to reports published on different newspapers.

‘From April to June 2020, at least 20 people were killed and 549 injured in political violence. Furthermore, 42 incidents of internal violence in the Awami League were recorded during this period. Around 11 people were killed and 441 were injured in internal conflicts in the Awami League,’ said human rights watchdog Odhikar in its ‘Three-month Human Rights Monitoring Report on Bangladesh’ published on June 6.

‘Even in the midst of this pandemic, the criminal activities of the leaders and activists of the ruling political party continued,’ the report said.

It mentioned establishing supremacy in areas, internal conflicts and distribution of relief materials for the clashes.

Odhikar data shows no intra-party clashes in other political parties were recorded during the coronavirus time.

In the first three months, according to Odhikar, there were 48 incidents of internal violence in the Awami League that killed seven and injured 384 while one incident of internal violence in the BNP that injured 20 people.

According to Odhikar Data, there were 4,126 intra-party clashes in AL that killed 477 people and injured 43,881 others in the last 11 years since 2009 while there were 664 incidents of intra-party clashes in BNP that killed 35 people and injured 7,644.

During these 11 years, Odhikar recorded 33 intra-party clashes in other political parties that injured 364 people.

Another rights organisation Ain O Salish Kendra in its Statistical Report of Human Rights Violation from January to June 2020 in the country said that they recorded a total of 78 incidents of political violence during the last six months that killed 18 people and injured 882 others.

Of the total incidents, 47 incidents were intra-party clashes in the AL and its associate organisations that killed at least 14 people and injured 544 others while two incidents were intra-party clashes of BNP that killed one and injured 13 others.

Of the intra-party clashes of the ruling party and its associate organisations, according to ASK data, 33 incidents happened between AL and AL that killed 13 and injured 434, one between JL and JL that injured one, 11 between BCL and BCL that killed one and injured 95 and two others between AL and JL that injured 14 people.

It said that 17 incidents of political clashes happened centering city corporation elections that killed two and injured 173 others during the time.

According to ASK data, ruling party factional feuds constitute over 60 per cent of political clashes. The Awami League people were involved in many of the rest 40 per cent of the political clashes.

Awami League organising secretary SM Kamal Hossain termed the intra-party clashes even during the COVID-19 crisis as sad incidents and said that the associate organisations were directed to take organizational punitive actions against those involved.

‘We have been taking initiatives to investigate into all the incidents and taking punitive actions as per the investigation findings,’ he said.

Chhatra League central president Al Nahian Khan Joy said that they had already taken organisational steps in bringing to book the culprits involved in several incidents.

‘We have already formed separate investigative committees and also urged law enforcement agencies to take necessary actions against the culprits,’ said Al Nahian.

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