BNP candidate Fazlul Huq was arrested and several hundred people were injured during attacks on opposition candidates and their campaigners at places on Thursday as the opposition continued facing obstruction reportedly from the ruling Awami League to electioneering.
Some candidates of the main opposition alliance Jatiya Oikya Front, comprising Bangladesh Nationalist Party, Gono Forum, Jatyia Samajtantrik Dal–JSD, Nagorik Oikya and Krishak Sramik Janata League, were yet to start campaigning even on the fourth day of electioneering for the December 30 general election.
Several opposition candidates alleged that their campaigners as well as voters were being threatened, arrested and even barred from hanging or pasting their posters.
New Age correspondent in Gazipur reported that detectives arrested BNP organising secretary and candidate for Gazipur 5 Fazlul Huq Milon at his village home at Bartul under Kaliganj upazila on Thursday at about 2:30pm, few hours after he went to his constituency.
Gazipur superintendent of police Shamsunnahar said that Fazlul Huq was arrested as there were warrants for his arrest in seven cases.
District BNP joint-secretary Sakhawat Hossain Sabuj said that Fazlul Huq was on bail in all the cases.
Oikya front candidate for Pabna 1 Abu Sayeed, a former AL leader who joined the Gono Forum after announcement of the schedule for the 11th parliamentary elections, came under attack in Pabna on Thursday, two days after BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir’s motorcade was attacked allegedly by AL activists in Thakurgaon.
New Age Correspondent in Narayanganj reported that AL-backed student body Bangladesh Chhatra League Sonargaon municipal unit organising secretary Rony Billal stormed a law and order meeting at Sonargaon upazila on Thursday and attacked BNP candidate for Narayanganj 3 Azharul Mannan in presence of the upazila nirbahi officer, police officer-in-charge and election officials at about 4:30pm.
Rony was immediately caught and produced before a mobile court led by assistant commissioner (land) Ruhul Amin which jailed him for three months, Sonargaon police station officer-in-charge Md Morshed Alam said.
New Age correspondents also reported that an AL election camp was set on fire in Lakshmipur early Thursday and a procession supporting an AL candidate was attacked in Bogra Wednesday evening.
BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi at a briefing at Nayapaltan office said that 2,415 party activists were arrested since announcement of election schedule on November 8 and 15 new cases were filed and 425 activists were arrested after the electioneering began on December 10.
Home minister Asaduzzaman Khan, during election campaign in Dhaka, told reporters that those who were arrested were wanted in specific cases.
New Age correspondent in Pabna reported that oikya front candidate Abu Sayeed’s motorcade came under attack reportedly by AL and Juba League activists at Shimultala of Santhia upazila in Pabna at about 11:00am on Thursday.
‘The AL and JL attackers vandalised two vehicles, including my one, and took away two motorcycles and a hand mike during the attack in front of the residence of Santhia upazila AL general secretary Tapan Haider,’ Abu Sayeed told New Age.
Tapan alleged that Jamaat activists attacked Sayeed as he was going to offer fateha at the grave of executed Jamaat leader Motiur Rahman Nizami, an allegation rejected by Jammat.
Santhia police station officer-in-charge Jahangir Hossain said that the attackers could not be identified and none was injured.
Ganosamhati Andolan candidate for Dhaka 12 constituency Zonayed Saki, also a Left Democratic Alliance leader, alleged that Chhatra League activists obstructed his electioneering near Tejgaon College in Dhaka at about 4:30pm.
He said that his posters were torn and public address system wires were disconnected at places.
BNP vice-chairman Hafiz Uddin Ahmed alleged that he could not move to his constituency Bhola 3 from Dhaka due to obstructions by AL activists at Sadarghat launch terminal.
New Age correspondents in Khulna and Satkhira reported that BNP candidates Azizul Bari Helal for Khulna 4, Nazrul Islam Manju for Khulna 2 and Habibul Islam Habib alleged that AL activists continued attacking and threatening their campaigners and even hindering their campaigns while the police continued raiding their houses and arresting them in fictitious cases.
New Age correspondent in Jashore reported that at least 12 people, including four journalists, were injured as AL activists attacked rallies of BNP candidate for Jashore 3 Aninda Islam Amit at Halsha Bazar and Bakchar.
At least eight BNP activists were injured as ‘miscreants’ attacked the election camp at Jhikargachha in Jashore at about 11:30am, alleged BNP candidate for Jashore 2 Abu Syed Mohammad Shahadat Hossain.
New Age correspondent in Noakhali reported that at least 15 BNP activists were injured as AL activists allegedly attacked BNP candidate Mohammad Fazlul Azim’s motorcade at Darbeshbazar under Hatiya at about noon during his electioneering.
AL candidate Ayesha Ferdous denied the allegation.
Besides, Awajbalia union Juba League joint-convener Ariful Islam Sumon filed a case naming 361 BNP and Jamaat activists and some unidentified others for killing ward-8 Juba League general secretary Md Hanif, said Sudharam police station officer-in-charge Md Anwar Hossain, adding that 10 of the accused were arrested.
Hanif was killed in a clash ensued following attack on BNP and Jamaat activists by AL during electioneering.
New Age correspondent in Lakshmipur reported that an election camp of AL candidate for Lakshmipur 1 Anwar Hossain Khan was set on fire at Shyampur bazaar under Sadar upazila early Thursday.
Anwar blamed oikya front candidate and LDP leader Shahdot Hossain Selim’s activists for the attack.
Shahadot alleged that at least eight of his activists were injured as AL activists attacked his house at about 1:30pm and vandalised some furniture.
In Munshiganj, a group of AL activists stormed into district BNP office and beat BNP activists, leaving at least 10 injured Thursday evening, alleged district BNP president Abdul Hai.
Sadar police station officer-in-charge Alamgir Hossain said that the attackers could not be identified.
Local Juba League and Chattra League activists snatched away 25,000 posters and 1 lakh leaflets of BNP candidate for Jhenaidah 4 Saiful Islam Firoz from near a printing press at Fakirapool in Dhaka Thursday evening while BNP activists were boarding them on a car, alleged the BNP candidate’s fellow Abu Faisal Jihad and printing press workers.
They alleged that the snatchers also took away white papers from different presses and threatened those who had taken order to print BNP candidates’ posters.
‘We are now thinking about how we could manage to print posters and leaflets,’ said Faisal.
Oikya front leaders ASM Abdur Rob and Mahmudur Rahman Manna were allegedly obstructed from electioneering in the capital’s Uttarkhan area on Thursday, reported United News of Bangladesh.
The two along with oikya front candidate for Dhaka 18 Shahiduddin Mahmud Swapn offered fateha at Shah Kabir’s shrine at Uttarkhan to conduct election campaign in the area in the afternoon.
Several hundred local AL leaders and activists gathered on the shrine premises and chanted slogans in favour of AL electoral symbol boat.
At one stage, Rob and Manna along with their supporters left the shrine without conducting the campaign.
Talking to reporters, Manna, the Nagorik Oikya convener, said that AL activists were obstructing front candidates across the country from carrying out election campaign.
JSD president Abur Rob urged police to work neutrally and help ensure a level playing field.
In Bogra, Sariakandi upazila AL vice-president Momtazur Rahman Mandal filed a case with Sariakandi police station on Thursday naming 20 BNP activists and 45 unidentified ones for attacking and setting fire to the public address system of AL candidate for Bogra 1 Abdul Mannan at Baraipara under the upazila Wednesday evening, said the police station inspector (investigation) Enayetur Rahman.
In Narayanganj, three BNP activists were injured as BNP candidate for Narayanganj 2 Nazrul Islam Azad’s motorcade was attacked at Purinda under Araihazar upazila.
In Netrokona, at least six AL activists were injured as a procession supporting AL candidate for Netrokona 3 Ashim Kumar Ukil was attacked near Itakhola Bridge Wednesday evening.
Atpara police station officer-in-charge Aviranjan Dev acknowledged the incident.
In Khagrachari, unidentified attackers vandalised a vehicle and PA system of BNP candidate at Kadamtali in the district town, said Khagrachari police station officer-in-charge Shahadat Hossain Tito.
Khagrachari Juba Dal general secretary Ibrahim Khalil alleged that seven BNP activists were injured in the attack by AL activists but district AL acting general secretary Nirmalendu Chowdhury denied the allegation.
Jatiya Oikya Front chief leader Dr Kamal Hossain as a part of electioneering would start for Mymensing from Dhaka on Saturday to address roadside gatherings.
Kamal would also address roadside rallies at Mohammadpur in Dhaka at 2:00pm and at Shyampur at 4:00pm on Friday, said the chief coordinator of the front.
Awami League on Thursday launched electioneering in Dhaka city from a programme at Central Shaheed Minar.
The party’s election steering committees’ publicity and publication wing and its subcommittee organised the programme attended by cultural activists.
Inaugurating the programme, Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader said that voters were eagerly waiting to cast their votes in favour of the pro liberation forces.
The opening ceremony was followed by a procession which ended in front of the Bangabandhu Bhaban at Dhanandi, parading TSC of Dhaka University, Shahbagh, Bangla Motor, Karwan Bazar, Farmgate and Manik Mia Avenue.
Gono Forum executive president Subrata Chowdhury, candidate for Dhaka 6, told New Age on Thursday that he was facing obstacle in campaigning as police arrested and raided houses of leaders and activists of the front, particularly BNP.
He said that leaders and activists of BNP who would mainly conduct the electioneering in favour of him were on the run being implicated in false cases and even being arrested after securing bail.
Jatiyatabadi Juba Dal president Saiful Alam Nirob, who is contesting against home minister Asaduzzman Khan for Dhaka 12, alleged that he could not carry out electioneering freely as police and ruling party activists snatched away his leaflets during distribution at places in the past two days.
Gono Forum general secretary Mostafa Mohsin Montu, front candidate for Dhaka 7, said that he would formally start electioneering today after Juma prayers.
Asked about no poster of him seen in his constituency, he said posters would be disturbed on Thursday.
Krishak Sramik Janata League candidate Iqbal Siddique for Gazipur 3 said that police were obstructing his electioneering.
He alleged that police arrested two conveners of his electioneering committee early Thursday in ‘fictitious’ cases.
Jatiya Party candidates started campaign in 187 constituencies across the country from Tuesday, said Sahidur Rahman, the member secretary of election monitoring cell formed by the party on Thursday.
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