Jatiya Oikya Front candidates were shot at, beaten and attacked at places as attacks on opposition campaigns for the December 30 general election reportedly by ruling Awami League activists continued on the sixth day of the electioneering on Saturday.
Bangladesh Nationalist Party joint secretary general Mahbub Uddin Khokon, also front candidate for Noakhali 1, sustained bullet injuries in an attack allegedly by AL activists in Noakhali.
AL activists beat up front candidate for Dhaka 6 Subrata Chowdhury in Old Dhaka.
Front candidates Mirza Abbas for Dhaka 8 and Hasina Ahmed for Cox’s Bazar 4 were attacked at Segunbagicha in Dhaka and in Cox’s Bazar frespectivly during their electioneering.
The main opposition alliance sought appointment with president Md Abdul Hamid for a meeting to discuss the elections.
A letter signed by jailed Bangladesh Nationalist Party chairperson Khaleda Zia’s private secretary ABM Abdus Sattar on December 13 stated that a 10-member delegation led by Jatiya Oikya Front chief Dr Kamal Hossain wanted to meet the president at Bangabhaban on December 17.
Attacks and clashes during electioneering of the opposition alliance candidates were also reported from Chattogram, Jhalakati, Dinajpur, Shariatpur, Brahmanbaria, Chandpur, Faridpur and Jashore that injured over 100 opposition activists on Saturday 15 days ahead of the 11th parliamentary elections.
Over 150 opposition activists, mostly main party in the front Bangladesh Nationalist Party, were arrested in Rangpur, Satkhira, Natore, Feni and Jaipurhat on Saturday as arrests of opposition activists continued.
BNP alleged that about 150 BNP candidates had so far been attacked by AL ‘terrorists’ and law enforcers.
BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi at a briefing at the BNP central office also alleged that two candidates were sent to jail and candidatures of some leaders, BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia, had been kept pending with the courts while the posters and banners of the font candidates were being damaged in the 300 constituencies.
AL general secretary Obaidul Quader, while talking to journalists at Daganbhuiyan in Feni, denied the allegation and said that the Jatiya Oikya Front and BNP were ‘attacking themselves sometimes’ and shifting the blames on the Awami League to draw public attention.
Chief election commissioner KM Nurul Huda claimed that a level playing field was created and the candidates were electioneering freely.
At a briefing at the Election Commission, he, however, said that Friday’s attack on front chief Dr Kamal Hossain’s motorcade was ‘unfortunate’.
‘It’s a criminal offence in the eye of law. Measures will be taken in this regard according to the law,’ he said.
BNP candidate for Noakhali 1 Mahbub Uddin Khokon and three other party activists sustained bullet injuries and 20 others were injured in an attack allegedly by AL activists in Sonaimuri Bypass area of Sonaimuri upazila Saturday afternoon.
Sonaimuri upazila BNP president Motahar Hossain Manik alleged that when they reached Sonaimuri bazaar area after a meeting at Sonaimuri High School ground, a group of AL leaders and activists swooped on them.
The AL activists opened fire on them, leaving four people, including Mahbub, injured, he said.
The injured were rushed to Noakhali General Hospital.
News agency United News of Bangladesh reported that resident medical officer of the hospital Dr Syed Ahmed Azim said that Mahbub and three other BNP activists took treatment at the hospital for bullet wounds.
Sonaimuri police inspector (investigation) Emdadul Haque claimed that a group of BNP activists, led by Mahbub, brought out a procession in the area with sticks after Maghrib prayers, threw brick chips at police, resorted to vandalism and exploded several crude bombs.
Asked about the bullet injury the BNP candidate sustained, the police official claimed that there was no firing. ‘He might have hurt himself by crude bomb splinters,’ he said.
Mahbub told New Age in the hospital bed that AL activists and Sonaimuri police officer-in-charge Abdul Majid opened fire at him and his supporters.
Noakhali superintendent of police Ilias Sharif said that police fired blank bullets to contain the situation.
In Dhaka, Gono Forum leader and oikya front candidate for Dhaka 6 Subrata Chowdhury was beaten up allegedly by AL activists at Hatkhola in Old Dhaka Saturday evening when he, along with his supporters, was distributing leaflet among voters.
Witnesses said that Subrata along with some 20 of his supporters was distributing leaflets to shopkeepers near Hatkhola Bridge at about 6:30pm when AL activists swooped on them.
The shopkeepers rescued Subrata, the witnesses said.
Subrata alleged that the AL activists beat him and his supporters in presence of police.
‘They beat me up for about 10 minutes…The shopkeepers saved my life,’ he said.
BNP candidate for Dhaka 8 Mirza Abbas came under attack when he was electioneering at Shegunbagicha. At least 10 BNP activists were injured.
Witnesses said that AL-backed student body Chhatra League activists swooped on Abbas and his supporters near Segunbagicha kitchen market with sticks.
Abbas escaped unhurt, but his supporters attempting to rescue him got injured, witnesses said.
Talking to journalists at his house, Abbas alleged that about 70-80 of his supporters were injured in the attack and 9 of them were arrested.
He said that about 100 AL activists attacked him when he along with his supporters was campaigning.
He alleged that neither Ramna police nor Shahbagh police accepted his complaint about the attack.
Ramna police officer-in-charge Kazi Mainul Islam said they received a written complaint that Abbas’ supporters damaged a garage of Chhatra League leader Jubayer Ahmed, triggering a clash.
He denied that police refused to take Miza Abbas’ complaint.
In Cox’s Bazar, the motorcade of BNP candidate for Cox’s Bazar 4 (Chakaria-Pekua) was attacked reportedly by AL activists at Katakhali point of Chakaria upazia on Cox’s Bazar-Chattogram highway.
About 100 BNP activists were injured in the attack and three microbuses, a jeep and four motorcycles were damaged in the attack.
Two motorcycles were also taken away from the spot.
Local people and her supporters rescued Hasina, witnesses said.
Hasina alleged that AL activists led by ex-acting chairman of Dolhazara union parishad Saiful Islam attacked her electioneering.
At a press conference at district BNP office in the afternoon, Hasina alleged that AL activists were trying to kill her.
She said that she filed separate complaints with the returning officer and deputy commissioner, police superintendent and officer-in-charge of Chakaria police station, but no steps were taken.
Chakoria police officer-in-charge Baktiar Uddin Chowdhury said that police forces were sent to the spot after hearing the news, but nobody was found there.
He said that police would take action if the BNP candidate filed written complaint.
In Jhalakati, at least 10 people were injured in clashes between the supporters of BNP candidate Muhammad Shahjahan Omar and AL candidate Bazlul Hoque Haroon at Kathalia during the electioneering.
BNP leaders alleged that AL activists carried out the attack. The allegation was denied by AL leaders who also claimed that their party office was damaged.
Kathalia police station officer-in-charge Enamul Hosain said that additional police were deployed.
Earlier on Friday evening, the motorcade of BNP candidate Jeba Amin Khan was attacked, leaving 10 injured at Nalchity.
Nalchity police station inspector (investigation) Abdul Halim Talukdar said that they found none when they rushed to the spot.
In Chattogram, BNP candidate for Chattogram 14 Oli Ahmed’s electioneering was attacked reportedly by AL activists at Keochia of Chandanaish at about 2:30pm, injuring four BNP activists.
AL activists attacked them with sticks and iron rods at a procession near Chaumuhani Cyclone Centre, witnesses said.
Oli’s son Omar Faruk’s finger was cut off during that attack, alleged Md Jashim, media coordinator of Oli’s campaign. He was admitted to Chandanaish health complex.
In Dinajpur, four people were injured as BNP and AL activists clashed at Biral Saturday morning.
Witnesses said that BNP activists were campaigning at Biral in the morning, when AL activists obstructed them, triggering the clash.
AL Dulhari village leader Abdur Razzak and his son were injured.
Biral police officer-in-charge ATM Golam Rasul said that they would take action against the perpetrators.
In Brahmanbaria, a meeting of BNP candidate Moslim Uddin for Brahmanbaria 4 was attacked at Akhaura Saturday morning. Four BNP activists were injured and seven motorcycles were damaged.
Moslim alleged that AL activists attacked his election meeting and vandalised 15 motorcycles, three auto rickshaws and beat up four of his supporters.
In Jashore, a crude bomb was exploded near the election rally of BNP candidate Aninda Islam Amit for Jashore 4 at Kadamtala Saturday morning. A BNP activist was tortured by AL activists near the rally, alleged Amit.
In Patuakhali, Socialist Party of Bangladesh candidate for Patuakhali 4 Jahirul Alam Sabul and six others were injured as AL activists attacked an election campaign at Chapli Bazaar of Mahipur of Patuakhali. The attackers also damaged loudspeakers.
BNP contestant for Chandpur 2 Jalal Uddin and his supporters came under attack twice at Ludhua under Matlab north upazila by AL activists, leaving 10 people injured, when Jalal was going to offer fateha at his father’s grave, reports UNB.
In Manikganj, Juba League activists attacked the motorcade of former lawmaker and Jatiya Party candidate for Manikganj 2 SM Abdul Mannan at Kanthapara of Harirampur, leaving nine people injured, reports UNB. Mannan alleged that the Juba League activists vandalised his vehicle and several motorcycles.
At least 50 people were injured as BNP and AL activists clashed at Lalmohan of Bhola Saturday morning, reports UNB. The injured were admitted to Lalmohan Hospital, said witnesses adding that two motorcycles were vandalised and another one was set on fire.
An election office of Awami League was torched at Harukandi of Faridpur district town early Saturday, reports UNB.
In Cumilla, Meghna upazila BNP president Ramiz Uddin was attacked allegedly by Juba League activists at Lakkhankhola village, reports UNB.
In Chuadanga, miscreants hacked district Juba Dal president Sharif Ur Zaman at Baganpara of the district town while he was taking tea at a teashop, reports UNB.
Police on Saturday prosecuted 173 BNP leaders and activists in Sirajganj over Friday’s clash, in which BNP candidate for Sirajganj 2 Romana Mahmud and several other BNP activists sustained bullet injuries during electioneering.
New Age correspondent in Sylhet reported that 21 leaders and activists of BNP and its ally Jamaat-e-Islami were arrested from three districts in Sylhet division early Saturday.
In Narayanganj, police prosecuted 230 BNP leaders and activists for ‘imaginary’ subversive activities on Saturday.
The Jatiya Oikya Front staged street rallies from Tongi to Mymensingh on Saturday to garner support for their candidates.
Front top leaders ASM Rob, Zafrullah Chowdhury, Mahmudur Rahman Manna, Abdul Kader Siddique addressed rallies at Dattapara in Tongi and Maona crossing in Gazipur.
At the rally at Tongi, Zafrullah demanded army deployment from Sunday to ensure peaceful election environment.
Rob alleged that ‘double set of ballot papers’ were being printed at government press to rig the election.
He demanded that arrests and attacks on their candidates and supporters must be stopped.
At a rally in Maona crossing, Kader Siddque said that none could protect Sheikh Hasina’s power even with assistance from India.
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